Gravlax Recipe: Homemade Cured Salmon

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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.

Gravlax Recipe Homemade Cured Salmon 780 _ Umami Girl

Tip

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

Along with our Cheddar Puff Pastry Straws and Marcella Hazan’s Bagna Cauda with bitter vegetables, we snacked on this house-cured gravlax recipe while the Thanksgiving turkey roasted this year.

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.

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Gravlax Recipe: Homemade Cured Salmon

We prefer wild salmon to farmed salmon for many reasons. Because it is substantially leaner than farmed salmon, I use 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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 15 minutes
Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the parchment. Brush evenly with the lemon juice.
  3. Combine salt, sugar, and cracked pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. 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.
  5. Cover evenly with the dill.
  6. Cover the salmon with another layer of parchment and then another sheet pan. Weight the top sheet pan with two 16-ounce cans.
  7. Refrigerate for 40-48 hours.
  8. Scrape the dill and curing mixture from the salmon. Rinse well and pat dry.
  9. Slice very thinly to serve. The salmon can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before serving.

Notes

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.


Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 142 Total Fat:: 5.4g Carbohydrates:: 2.5g Fiber:: 0g Protein:: 19.6g

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Comments

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  1. Nate

    Hi, I have a question about the freezing of the salmon. If you buy it fresh do you then freeze it and then take it out frozen and add the salt suger and other ingredients while its still frozen or do you let it dethaw first then add the ingredients? Could you email me your answer at [email protected] thank you so much!

  2. Yamzam

    Umamigirl,

    I have been searching for a basic recipe for gravlax. Thank you for sharing yours.
    I tried this for Christmas dinner and everyone loved it. I tried this with a frozen sockeye salmon fillet and it was great!

    Thanks again.

  3. This looks fantastic. My mother cures an entire salmon for Christmas dinner every year, but I’ve never tried it myself. Maybe I should volunteer to take over Gravlax duties this year!

  4. I’ve been dying to try this, and really, I have no excuse, looks so simple. Wish I was at your Thanksgiving – gosh, I wouldn’t have had any room left for turkey!

  5. Awesome work! Definitely hope to give this a shot over the holidays.

    Cheers,
    Nick

  6. Hi Diana, thanks! You know, I didn’t even bother to chop the dill. It’s easier to remove that way. You might discard the thick stems so they don’t leave imprints on the salmon, but other than that, keep it simple.

  7. Diana Pappas

    ok, this is amazing, and you’re right, amazingly simple. Did you chop up the dill?