Gravlax is fresh salmon that’s been cured with a combination of salt and sugar. It’s arguably the ultimate easy-to-make luxury food in the world! This homemade Cured Salmon Gravlax recipe can be made with a small fillet or whole side of salmon, and costs a fraction of store-bought.
The beauty of homemade cured salmon is that you can control the salt so it’s not too salty and it’s got a fresh herb flavor that you’ll never get in a packet. Ready to bring a taste of Scandinavia into your own home.
What does gravlax taste like?
Gravlax tastes like a cross between salmon sashimi (imagine it with the addition of seasoning from salt plus fresh herb flavor), and the smoked salmon slices you buy at stores – but minus the smokey flavor (because smoked salmon is made by smoking salmon).
This Cured Salmon Gravlax recipe is perfect. It’s not too salty, the flesh is not overly cured i.e. still nice and moist. But it’s cured enough to be easily sliceable into thin pieces (which is virtually impossible with raw fish). It’s salty enough that you’ll want to eat the slices plain, but not too salty that you’ll need to guzzle a glass of water with every bite.
- 1 tbsp white peppercorns (whole) (Note 1)
- 1 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped (1 big bunch)
- 250g / 8 oz rock salt (Note 2)
- 250g / 8 oz white sugar (Note 3)
- 1 kg / 2 lb salmon, sashimi-grade, bones removed and skin on (Note 4)
MUSTARD CREAM SAUCE
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml heavy / thickened cream
- 1/3 cup Dijon Mustard (or hot mustard if you want a kick)
- 2 tsp Mustard Powder
- Salt and pepper
- Rye bread slices or other bread/crackers (Note 5)
- Lemon wedges
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped (for garnish)
- Crush peppercorns with the side of a knife (or roughly grind using mortar and pestle).
- Combine peppercorns with salt, sugar, and dill.
- Place 2 large pieces of cling wrap on a work surface, slightly overlapping. Spread half the salt mixture in the shape of the salmon.
- Place salmon on salt, skin side down. Top with remaining salt mixture.
- Wrap with cling wrap. Place in a large dish. Top with something flat (like small cutting board) then 3 x 400g / 14oz cans ("Weights").
- Refrigerate for 12 hours. There will be liquid in the dish. Turn salmon over (will be gloopy/wet)), then replace Weights and return to the fridge. After another 12 hours, turn salmon over again, replace Weights. After another 12 hours, remove salmon from the fridge. 36 hours total for Medium Cure - Perfect Gravlax to my taste (See Note 2 for description and more curing times).
- Unwrap salmon, scrape off salt then rinse. Pat dry. If time permits, return to the fridge for 3 - 12 hours uncovered (dries surface better, lets salt "settle" and permeate through flesh more evenly).
- Sprinkle over the 1/4 cup extra dill - for garnish and flavor.
- Slice thinly on an angle, do not cut through skin. Serve with toasted bread, Mustard Sauce, extra dill and lemon wedges.
Mix ingredients, making sure to season with salt and pepper. It should taste like a creamy mustard - a touch of tartness, but mostly to add moisture to the dish. You can add lemon juice and/or zest if you wish - I like to serve with wedges so people can adjust to their taste.