Make Ahead

Darra Goldstein's Gravlax (Salt-and-Sugar-Cured Salmon)

September 18, 2015
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Gravlax is one of the glories of Nordic cuisine, found throughout Scandinavia. The name is an abbreviated form of gravad lax, or buried salmon. As a means of preservation, the fish used to be cured underground, where it fermented slightly. Each Nordic country has its own style of curing the salmon, I have opted for the proportions most commonly used in Sweden, where sugar is king: two parts sugar to one part salt. Just make sure to use a coarse sea salt and not fine table salt, or the fish will turn out too salty. - Darra Goldstein

Reprinted with permission from Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking, by Darra Goldstein, copyright 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. —Food52

  • Serves 10
  • 1 bunch dill, plus 2 cups coarsely chopped dill stems and leaves
  • 3 pounds best-quality salmon side, scaled, with skin on
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cracked white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
In This Recipe
  1. Set a shallow glass or enamel baking pan large enough to hold the salmon on the counter. Line the bottom of the pan with the sprigs from 1 bunch of dill. Place the salmon fillet on top of the dill, skin side down.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, peppercorns, and coriander seeds, and rub gently into the salmon flesh. Sprinkle the chopped dill over the sugar mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at cool room temperature for 8 hours, then refrigerate for 24 hours. Quickly rinse off the curing mixture and pat the fish dry. Serve cold, very thinly sliced, with mustard sauce. NOTE: Americans tend to lay smoked or cured salmon out in flat slices, but the Nordic presentation is more dramatic: Roll each thin slice of gravlax into a swirl, like a rosebud, and place it upright on the serving platter.

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