Wild Food Challenge Organizer Bill Manson

As founder of the Local Wild Food Challenge, now held annually in nine locations around the world (including Martha’s Vineyard each Columbus Day), Bill Manson hopes to inspire communities to revel in the resources around them. “We believe that the deeper you venture into your environment, the more motivation you have to protect it,” he said. For his dish, Manson, a private chef on the Island, said he “wanted to see beach plums presented in a completely different way. This dish gives the fish a spectacular color and a mild acid note to the top of the flesh. It is also a very easy dish to make, despite a really sophisticated look to it.”

Martha’s Vineyard Beach Plum and Faroe Islands Salmon Gravlax

  • 4/5 pound fillet of wild (or sustainably farm-raised) salmon
  • 1 pound beach plums, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 3 beets, small dice
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 cup fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup fresh chervil
  • 1/3 cup fresh tarragon
  • Small bunch chives
  • Wild edible flowers
  • 1/4 cup flake salt and 1/2 cup soft brown sugar, blended
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • MV Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Remove pin bones from salmon and rub fish with salt and sugar mixture. Place in large baking dish.

2. In a blender (preferably a Vitamix), purée the beach plums and beets. Add water if necessary. Splash half the vodka over the fish (flesh side up) and cover with beach plum/beet mixture. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and allow to cure in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

3. Remove fish from fridge and scrape off beach plum purée. Pat dry and splash the remaining vodka over the fish. Scatter dill and lemon zest over fillet, cover with plastic wrap, and return to fridge for another day or up to 4 days. You can weigh down the fish with a couple of cans.

4. Remove fish from fridge and slice very thinly. Arrange on a platter and scatter with wild flowers, tarragon, chervil, dill, and a little more lemon zest.

5. Season with flaked sea salt and ground pepper. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with thinly sliced rye toasts.