How to Make Gravlax: With this cured fish recipe, you can make the best-salted salmon from scratch! Enjoy homemade lox on toast, bagels, or in any other way you enjoy smoked salmon.
Why We Adore This Simple Salmon Recipe
Today we’re going to show you how to make cured salmon at home to save money, improve quality control, and impress your friends and family.
With only a few ingredients, this Easy Homemade Gravlax recipe comes together in a matter of minutes. Then put it in the fridge for 1 to 3 days to let the salt work its magic!
When finished, you’ll have a flaky, moist, and flavorful cured fish to enjoy on toast, bagels, and more! I am confident that you will never want to buy the packaged version again.
What Is the Distinction Between Gravlax, Lox, and Smoked Salmon?
Gravlax and lox are very similar in that they both involve curing fish with salt rather than cooking it with heat. However, unlike gravlax, which is made by packing a salt and sugar cure onto the fillet, traditional lox is made by immersing the salmon in a salty brine.
Smoked salmon, on the other hand, is prepared by smoking – and thus cooking – the fish.
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This recipe is for Gravlax, but it can also be used on bagels as “bagels and lox.” Personally, I think it tastes much better than traditional lox. However, you can use it anywhere you would normally use lox or smoked salmon!
You’ll Need 6 Ingredients
- Salmon, wild-caught or farmed, whole fillet with skin
- For curing fish, use Kosher salt (a coarse salt).
- Granulated sugar preserves the salmon while also balancing the saltiness.
- chopped fresh dill
- Freshly ground black pepper is preferred.
- Gin or vodka?
- The gin (or vodka) is optional, but it helps balance the flavor of the salmon and prevents any fishiness from intensifying as it cures.
How to Prepare Gravlax
Place the fresh salmon fillet (or previously frozen and thawed) on a clean work surface. Feel the top of the salmon’s surface with your fingers. Examine the area for any small pin bones that were not removed. Then, using your fingertips or tweezers, remove any remaining bones.
Prepare a small mixing bowl. Combine the kosher salt, granulated sugar, fresh dill, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly.
Drizzle the gin over the salmon fillet’s surface. Then rub the salt and sugar mixture all over the salmon fillet, including the skin side. Pile the rest of the salt mixture on top of the fillet.
Place a smaller container on top, about the length of the salmon fillet. Then, in the container, place something heavy to press down on the salmon… I like to use dried bean bags or canned goods. The idea here is to soak the salmon in salt for several days.
Place the baking dish in the refrigerator and set it aside for now.
Within 36 hours, the salmon will be soft-cured. Cure the salmon for up to 48 hours or three full days if you want a heavier salt cure and a slightly denser texture. I usually take mine out after 48 hours.
Remove the salmon fillet from the package and rinse with cold water to remove any excess salt and sugar. After that, pat it dry.
Get the full (printable) recipe for homemade salted salmon below. Enjoy!
Consume within two weeks of slicing. I recommend using a vacuum sealer to seal in the Gravlax for the freshest flavour.
Gravlax made with fresh salmon can be frozen; however, it is not recommended to re-freeze previously frozen fish. Place the cured fillet in an airtight plastic zipper bag after wrapping it in plastic wrap. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Within a week, use.
Gravlax is traditionally served with a tangy honey mustard sauce or a sour cream-based horseradish sauce. I’ve also had it served over rye or pumpernickel bread with a good schmeer of salty butter and a sliver of gravlax on top in some parts of the world.
You can, however, use it in any way you would normally use smoked or cured salmon… On cream cheese bagels, sandwiches, and salads, over poached eggs or a cheesy egg scramble, on a charcuterie board, and so on.
We love making Smoked Salmon Dip and Smoked Salmon Dip Deviled Eggs with homemade lox!
Questions and Answers
CAN GRAVLAX BE CURED FOR TOO LONG?
Yes, after three days (72 hours), the salted salmon will begin to degrade and become mushy.
IS IT SAFE TO EAT HOMEMADE GRAVLAX?
Definitely! Make the best-cured fish that is flavorful and completely safe by following our simple recipe. Natural disinfectant: salt!
IS SALTED SALMON HEALTHY?
The key here, as with most delicious things, is moderation. Gravlax has a relatively high salt content. However, salmon is very healthy and full of lean protein plus omega-3 fatty acids.
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Easy Gravlax Recipe (Cured Salmon)
With this cured fish recipe, you can make the best-salted salmon from scratch! Serve homemade gravlax (lox) on toast, bagels, or in any other way you enjoy smoked salmon.
- Lay the salmon fillet out on a clean work surface. Feel the top of the surface of the salmon with your fingers. Check for any small pin bones that were not removed. Then use your fingertips or tweezers to pull out any lingering bones.
- Set out a small mixing bowl. Combine the kosher salt, granulated sugar, fresh dill, and pepper. Mix well.
- Drizzle the gin over the surface of the salmon fillet. Then rub the salt and sugar mixture over the entire surface of the salmon fillet including the skin side. Pile any remaining salt mixture on top of the fillet.
- Wrap the salmon fillet very tightly in plastic wrap. Then place it in a baking dish.
- Set a smaller container, about the length of the salmon fillet, on top of it. Then place something heavy in the container to press down on the salmon… I like to use bags of dried beans or canned goods. The idea here is to press the salt into the salmon for several days.
- Now place the baking dish in the refrigerator and leave it alone. The salmon will be soft-cured within 36 hours. If you would like a heavier salt cure and a slightly denser texture, cure the salmon for up to 48 hours or even three full days. I usually remove mine at the 48 hour mark.
- Unwrap the salmon fillet and rinse with cold water to remove the excess salt and sugar. Then pat it dry.
- Working with a sharp knife, slice the salmon at an angle, against the grain, into fine slivers. If you cured the salmon for only 36 hours and it’s very soft, you may want to cut slightly thicker slices to make cutting more manageable.
- Place the slices in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Serve on rye bread with mustard or horse horseradish sauce. Top with dill, red onions and capers. Serve on bagels with cream cheese. Pile on salads or sandwiches.
- The gin (or vodka) is not necessary, but does help balance the flavor of the salmon so that any fishiness does not intensify as it cures.
- Enjoy within 2 weeks of slicing. For the freshest flavor, I recommend using a vacuum sealer to lock in the Gravlax.
- You can freeze gravlax made with fresh salmon; however, it is not recommended that you re-freeze previously frozen fish. Wrap the cured fillet in plastic wrap, and place in an airtight plastic zipper bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Use within a week.