Home Cured Gravlax

Gravlax, not to be confused with smoked salmon, is a Nordic salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. Like many dishes in Scandinavia it originated because of a need for preserving food for use during the long, cold winter months. The original gravlax was fermented and buried (much like rakfisk), but thanks to a combination of modernity and food safety common sense, the salmon is now simply covered in a thick layer of brine, rather then buried in a thick layer of sand. The moisture of the fish reacts with the sugar and salt creating a brine that, over a few days, cures the salmon.

We’re big fans of Gravlax and while we usually pick a filet up at The Norwegian Seamen’s Church¬†we were inspired recently to cure our own Gravlax.

It’s a painless and quick process that just requires a little patience, a lot of salt and a big chunk of salmon. The curing takes roughly 3 days, but when finished you have a dill laced gravlax that you can slather on bagels or serve as an hors d’oeuvre. We like to eat it on toast for breakfast, but there are a myriad of ways in which you can enjoy this lovely Nordic tradition.

Home Cured Gravlax

Two 2 lb salmon filets, pin bones removed
1/3 cup salt
2/4 cup sugar
2 bunches dill
pepper

Rinse the fillets in cold water and then pat them dry. Combine the salt and sugar and rub the flesh side of the fish with the mixture. Place one filet skin side down in a dish, just deep enough to hold both fillets. Place the dill over it. Place the other fillet skin side up on top of the first. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place a heavy weight on top of the fish (we used a bottle of vodka and a cutting board). Refrigerate 3 to 40 days, turning every 12 hours of so. Baste the fish with the brine that accumulates in the bottom of the dish.

When ready to serve dispose of the brine and brush the dill from the fish. Slice thinly on an angle and serve.