Gravlax Recipe: Homemade Cured Salmon
Earlier this year I wrote about our misadventures in homemade gravlax, which had all the potential in the world until a little tragic flaw called hubris made its way into the kitchen. A regular Salmon Hood, I vowed to avenge the wasted fish and discover the perfect curing method for wild salmon. Folks, I think I’ve done it. This gravlax recipe is really, really good. And it's easy, too.
Use wild Alaskan salmon that's been flash-frozen to kill any parasites.
Gravlax makes an impressive addition to an hors d'oeuvre or brunch spread
I'm kidding-not-kidding when I say that you should make sure people witness you slicing your own house-cured gravlax recipe, and you should talk about it just shy of annoying people, so they'll remember you made this amazing thing yourself.
Protips for making gravlax from wild salmon
Having come to my senses in the months since February (as regards cured salmon, at any rate), I consulted The Culinary Institute of America’s Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen for tips on how to make the perfect gravlax from wild salmon.
We prefer wild salmon to farmed salmon for many reasons. Because it is substantially leaner than farmed salmon, I used a relatively high ratio of sugar to salt and cured the salmon for a fairly short time to yield a soft and not overly dense result. This is the recipe I’ll wield forevermore.
And when you're ready to slice, if you want to really nerd out, check out this video starting from 2:40.
- 1 whole fillet Wild Alaskan Salmon, skin on (about 2 pounds), see note
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3 ounces kosher salt
- 3 ounces sugar
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Place the salmon, skin side down, on the parchment. Brush evenly with the lemon juice.
- Combine salt, sugar, and cracked pepper in a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle the mixture over the salmon, covering completely. The layer of curing mixture should be a little thicker where the salmon is thicker and thinner where the fillet thins out toward the tail.
- Cover evenly with the dill.
- Cover the salmon with another layer of parchment and then another sheet pan. Weight the top sheet pan with two 16-ounce cans.
- Refrigerate for 40-48 hours.
- Scrape the dill and curing mixture from the salmon. Rinse well and pat dry.
- Slice very thinly to serve. The salmon can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before serving.
Adapted from The Culinary Institute of America.
When you're ready to slice, if you want to really nerd out, check out this video starting from 2:40.
Important food safety note: Salmon should have been previously flash-frozen, as most is at this time of year. This ensures that any parasites have been killed and is the same process used for sushi-grade fish. Have the fishmonger remove any pin-bones from the fillet.