How to Cure Gravlax

6 years ago

Gravlax!I love smoked and cured fish, and have since I was a little girl. Lox and bagels and cream cheese on a weekend morning were one of my favorite treats, and I always fought for the biggest share of smoked salmon when it was available. 

I don't remember when I first learned about gravlax, the Swedish variation where the salmon is cured in a marinade rather than smoked, but I loved it too, from the first time I tasted it. It has stayed on my list of items I want to make at home for a long time, though I still haven't actually tried it. However, with this round-up of resources at the ready, I'll be curing gravlax in no time at all!

Marie-Louise of thePictureKitchen blog says she makes gravlax regularly, and provides a very simple recipe for curing the salmon.

It is something I make pretty often so have refined the method to make it as easy as possible. This recipe can be used to cure a large piece of salmon for a party or simply to cure a little piece as a weeknight treat.

She also includes a recipe for what she calls "the essential sauce to accompany classic Swedish gravlax." It relies on a great deal of dill, but also features a mustard-vinegar base that gets emulsified in a blender or mixer. 

Molly Watson of The Dinner Files cautions that this particular dish ought to be a rare treat rather than a regular one, particularly if using wild salmon. 

There are people who will say – and they are probably right – that the wild salmon population is not doing so well and that, really, we probably shouldn’t be eating any of these creatures. We should let them all spawn and reproduce as much as possible. Fishermen and the communities they support, of course, have many arguments against this stance. I’ve decided that if there are only so many salmon left and other people are eating them, I want my share. I don’t eat it very often and when I do I buy it from fishermen I know are fishing responsibly and with great care so the fish I get is as awesome as possible.

Molly's tale of how she cured the salmon is a great one and worth a read. Plus, it involves horseradish-infused vodka. For real. Don't miss this one. 

Lesley Elliott of Five O'Clock Food tried Beet-Cured Salmon Gravlax at Aureole in Las Vegas and was blown away. 

When it arrived, all we could say was ""WOW". The beet juice had perfectly tinted the edges of the salmon slices a bright rosy red color, and the flavor was so subtely salmon with the essence of beets and a bit of sugar and salt. We thought this dish was so sublimely simple, we had to give it a go at home.

After researching a few recipes, we collaborated and came up with our own, which is as close as we could get to the wonderful dish we had at Aureole.

Katherine Curry of Small Bites waxes poetic about the gravlax available at La Maree Smokehouse in Mamaroneck, New York. Though this post does not include a recipe, it made my mouth water. 

The gravlax at La Maree Smokehouse is buttery, brine-kissed, silky.  Cured without smoke, gravlax is thinly sliced fresh salmon cured with salt and sugar, seasoned with dill.  The absence of smoke allows the quality of the salmon to shine.

Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef offers up a video of her husband, chef Daniel Ahern, making gravlax step by step

If you want the flavor of gravlax but only have a couple of hours, Ilana-Davita offers a mock gravlax recipe that uses smoked salmon and only requires a couple of hours of marinating before it's ready to serve. 

Ewa of Delishhh Delishhh offers a gravlax and sauce variation that she calls one of her "favorite Swedish dishes," and Karin Shank of Savor the World successfully made gravlax in a smaller quantity than normal, using just one small salmon filet.

Have you tried your hand at curing salmon? Would you like to? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. 


Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories.

Photo credit: Photo by ethorson, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

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