Gravlax, or Scandanavian cured salmon, is truly a breeze to make. Patience is necessary as it must sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 days until it’s ready to slice.
You’ll definitely impresss your guests when you reveal that this beautiful, sliced gravlax was made in your own kitchen. Check out how to make gravlax for your next breakfast or brunch guests!
How to Make Gravlax
Our 4th of July menu was anything but classic Americana fare: Brazilian cocktails, Scandinavian cured fish, grasshopper pie, plus something to throw on the grill. Certainly a mish-mash of recipes from across the globe. But I had my reasons for such a menu…we gather with our neighbors each Independence Day for a pitch in dinner and fireworks.
It’s the perfect time to test out some recipes for the blog, like this gravlax. My friends, unlike my family, will eat anything and they are so proficient at giving me quotable reviews. This is definitely an improvement over the “good stuff” or “you don’t have to make this again” that I get from my crew. Plus they are actually interested in HOW to make gravlax, not just eating it!
The first gravlax recipe goes back to the Middle Ages when fishermen salted salmon and buried it in the sand to ferment. Nowadays, salmon fillets are coated with a salt and sugar mixture then topped with dill sprigs. Mine received a sprinkle of Cognac before hanging out in the fridge for half a week. The fillets were weighted down (I used two cast iron popover pans), then flipped every 12 hours…and the salmon is eventually cured via osmosis.
Tips for Making Gravlax
Minimal ingredients plus an easy recipe make this a must make dish! The only requirement is patience as it will be 3 days before you can dig in!
- Use high quality salmon. I go to my fish monger instead of the grocery store for the best, freshest salmon available. I find grocery store salmon can be mushy and you do not want those results.
- Be patient. The salt mixture needs time to penetrate the seafood. It is worth waiting for!
- Put reminders on your calendar or phone to flip your salmon every 12 hours. I often place mine in a basement refrigerator, and can forget when it’s out of sight.
- Use what ever you’d like to weight down the salmon, bricks, a cast iron skillet, even books. The pressure helps keep the salt and sugar mixture in close contact to the fish.
I knew I had a winner when one of my guests commented, “Great smoked salmon,” with Bill chiming in, “I hope there’s more of this.” Yes, Mr. Picky Pants was eating raw, cured salmon…whoa. Maybe he will eat fennel again one day…or mint…or nuts…or pineapple. I can dream, can’t I? I’ve also made terrific canapes with Dorie Greenspan’s gravlax recipe.
Please scroll down to see all the marvelous home preserved recipes from my friends!
- 4 pounds boned salmon fillets, skin on
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 bunches fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons Cognac
- Wrap baking sheet in plastic wrap, then line with parchment. Place fillets baking sheet, skin side down. Remove any bones.
- Mix together pepper, sugar and salt. Sprinkle over fillets. Place dill over salmon, then drizzle with Cognac.
- Cover with plastic wrap, then top with another baking sheet. Place a heavy object on top of the second baking sheet (I used cast iron popover pans).
- Every 12 hours, flip the salmon pieces and cover with new plastic wrap. Continue for a total of 3-4 days.
- To serve, scrape off dill and spices. Pat dry. Slice thin pieces on the diagonal.
Inspired by recipes from Emeril and Julia Child
Total time is 3-4 days for curing.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 57mg Sodium: 1470mg Carbohydrates: 5g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 20g