Gravlax is the term for fish (generally salmon) that is cured with salt, sugar, dill and can include alcohol or other ingredients. Like so many food-related subjects, there are purists and then people who are more liberal with their definitions. I’ve always been pretty liberal…
This is super-easy to make and tastes awesome too. My best advice is to buy the best piece of fish you can afford (both from a flavor and sustainable-basis). You can use the Oceanwise website to help find sustainable options.
This can be served on its own (it’s very easy to slice very thin, even without a fish knife as it’s very firm) or with many different breakfast ideas – served on a bagel with cream cheese or as part of a Benedict are favourite treatments for me.
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 0.25 cups of maple syrup
- Zest of 1-2 mandarin oranges
- Zest of 1-2 limes
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 pound (approx) of Salmon
If you don’t have a rasp (and they are some of the best $12 a kitchen can spend), you have to remove the zest without the white and then chop as small as humanly possible.
- Mix the salt and Maple Syrup.
- Make sure small bones are removed from the fish (the store should have done this – tweezers will help otherwise).
- If there’s a really thin part of the fish (where the belly was), remove it – it’s great for brunch as a fast fry but will cure too fast, become overly salty and chewy.
- Lay a sheet of foil out. Put enough salt-maple mixture to make a solid bed for the fish (the end-goal is to have the fish wrapped in it).
- Lay the fish skin-side down on the foil.
- Zest your citrus and distribute of the flesh of the fish.
- Pour the remaining salt mixture over top.
- Wrap with foil. You’ll want to wrap it tight AND use at least two layers of foil – the salt will remove liquid from the fish and you don’t want t a leak. Wrapping it tightly helps encourage contact with the salt. Place in fridge for about 24 hours – covered with something heavy (I used an unopened milk jug for the first bit then used some jars with water in them).
- Pull from fridge and rinse fish under cold running water to remove the cure – don’t worry about getting all the citrus pieces off.
- Slice as thinly as possible (a sharp knife helps) and don’t eat the skin – it will be very tough and hard to eat but if you chop it up, dogs love it. 🙂
If you’re looking for a different take on this, we also have a recipe for arctic char that’s cured with salt, maple, citrus and wild leek/ramp-infused vodka!
It’s really that simple and ready in 24 hours. Don’t worry about being exact with the timing but 24 is a great minimum time and while it could sit up to 48 hours, I prefer pulling it out sooner than that.
If you’ve cured salmon before are you a purist or do you add other flavors with it?