How to Make Gravlax at Home
Gravlax, pronounced grav-lox, is a Swedish dish of cold-cured salmon. Gravlax is like smoked salmon, but instead of cold smoking it, it’s cured. Originally, it was cured by burying the salmon underground, hence grav (grave/buried under the ground) and lax (salmon), however you won’t need a shovel to make this recipe. It is incredibly simple to make, while still making you look incredibly impressive to all your friends, or even just yourself. Nothing quite like saying “oh yes, I cured the salmon myself.” Also, compared to smoked salmon, or even gravlax you’d buy in a supermarket, way cheaper.
While I haven’t attempted this myself, I have read that you can cure other types of fish besides salmon. Just make sure that it is a saltwater fish, like trout, and not a freshwater fish, as freshwater fish may have parasites and other unsavoury things.
Gin is not a traditional ingredient for gravlax but I find it makes gravlax taste more aromatic. In a food way…not in a scented candle way.
- 1.5 lb salmon fillet, fresh
- 4 tbsp of coarse salt or sea salt
- 4 tbsp of sugar
- 3 tsp of mustard (English or Dijon, preferably)
- 2 tbsp of gin
- small bunch of fresh dill
- ground peppercorns to finish
Lots of options here – bagels, crackers, by itself, with cream cheese, squeeze of lemon, in a sandwich, some sort of mustard-based sauce for gravlax
What you will need:
Measuring spoons, a shallow dish that will hold the salmon fillet, a refrigerator, saran wrap, small bowls for mixing the cure mixture.
- Remove any tiny bones that may be in your salmon fillet.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, mustard and gin. Mix them together until they form a slightly thick consistency.
- Place some saran wrap in the dish that will hold your salmon, a large enough piece that you will be able to wrap around the salmon.
- Place the salmon in the dish, skin side down, and pour the cure mixture over the flesh of the salmon. Make sure that all of the flesh is coated in the cure.
- On top of the cure mixture, cover all of the salmon flesh with the fresh dill. Make sure that all of the flesh is covered.
- Wrap up the fillet securely with more saran wrap, enough to hold the dill snugly in place on the fillet. Place the salmon flesh side down in the dish. Put some weights (like tin cans or something) on top of the salmon to press it down. Putting weights on the salmon is not necessary, but I do it anyway.
- Put it in the fridge and leave it alone for 2-5 days. I usually let it cure for 3 days, the flavours are pretty intense by then.
- After finished curing, remove the salmon from the fridge and the saran wrap. Remove the dill from the salmon, and throw it out. Rinse or pat away with paper towel any leftover cure mixture.
- Place the salmon on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, slice it diagonally into thin strips. Serve!
That’s it. In some gravlax recipes, it calls to turn the package around every 12 hours to redistribute the cure, but it’s not necessary. I’ve never done it, and gravlax I’ve made always turns out fine.
The recipe is super easy, all you need is to do is practice a little patience and you have an amazing salmon dish. The first time I made gravlax I found the flavour of the salmon after 3 days of curing was very intense. If you’re impatient, you can serve the salmon after 2 days, the flavours will be there, and the salmon adequately cured. Serving the salmon with a squeeze of lemon juice a good way to mellow out its intense flavour and saltiness. So give that a whirl, you’ll be very pleased with the result.