This week I was given a large, gorgeous filet of fresh, sushi-grade salmon. I knew exactly what I wanted to make with a portion: salmon gravlax.
I hadn’t made any gravlax since I was in Hawaii, nearly five years ago, for a Master Preserver Certification course. I met a friend in that class, and she would travel to Alaska annually to work at a fishing lodge in a rural Alaskan town. She was kind enough to share some of her wild caught Alaskan fish with the class so that we could practice our “curing” skills, which was part of the charcuterie chapter we were learning about at the time.
Gravlax is a method of temporarily preserving the fish without cooking or freezing it. Gravlax is commonly cured with sugar, salt and dill (with other seasonings, if you’d like).
I made a small filet because I’m the only one that eats gravlax in my household. It can, however, be frozen after curing if you want to save some for a later date.
- 1/2 lb. filet of sushi-grade salmon, bones removed (or salmon that has been frozen for at least 7 days—see notes)
The Curing Mix
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed fresh dill, chopped
- Plastic wrap
- Pyrex, or other non-reactive dish and a smaller nonreactive plate or dish to act as a weight.
- Cure 2 days (48 hours)
Mix together the cure ingredients.
Layout a large piece of plastic wrap over a nonreactive dish and pour half of the curing mixture. Spread it out to the size of your filet.
Lay the salmon filet skin-side-down on the salt mixture. Pour the rest of the curing mix over the filet, so that it’s completely covered with the curing mix.
Tightly wrap the filet in the plastic wrap and leave it in the nonreactive dish to catch the liquid that will leak out. Place another nonreactive dish over the filet to act as a weight. I add some heavy condiments to this dish to weigh down the filet even more.
After 24 hours in the fridge, take the filet out and dump out the liquid. Flip the filet over, add weights, and refrigerate for another 12-24 hours.
Once finished curing, unwrap the filet, rinse off the salt, and pat it dry with a paper towel. Thinly slice to serve.
Store your salmon gravlax in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze.
To enjoy, thinly slice the gravlax to eat as-is, or use as a topping over a soft cheese with a cracker. Top gravlax over a cream cheese bagel with capers and sliced red onions, or turn it into a dip!
It is recommended to freeze fish for a minimum of seven days before consuming if you can’t get sushi/sashimi grade salmon, or if you’d like to take additional precautious against parasites. The freezing process will kill parasites.
Or you can cure it first and then freeze it for seven days before thawing and enjoying.
Consider adding black pepper, red pepper flakes, thinly sliced onion or lemon (or lemon zest), or any other seasonings of choice to the curing mixture for alternate flavor outcomes.