Make Ahead

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

September 18, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 10
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Martin
  • EmFraiche
  • CanadaDan
  • RLuxford

4 Reviews

Martin February 12, 2017
I don't understand if you use smoked salmon or is it completely raw to start with?
CanadaDan January 27, 2016
this recipe is stupid good. I halved it and made slight changes: total time was 28 hours (all in the fridge, none at room temp which sounded dangerous to me); on a cooling rack to drain liquid, and no dill on the bottom, and a big cast iron pan on top to weigh it down. it came out quite literally perfect...sweet and salt and a lot of dill flavour. this is my go to recipe from now on
RLuxford November 16, 2015
This worked even though I F-ed it up.
It's an incredibly forgiving recipe/plan. Just make sure you have enough dill to keep the salmon flesh above the weeping moisture that will come out.
EmFraiche September 29, 2015
This was a huge hit with the Norwegian houseguests we have with us this week. They loved it on bread (as they do most foods) with a dab of mustard.