Gravlax is surprisingly easy to make and requires only 3 elements: impeccable fish (we got you covered), a flavorful dry brine, and a little patience (who can’t wait for 24 hours for something spectacular?).
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice blend
- 1 pound keta salmon fillet, preferably a tail piece, skin and pin bones removed
- ½ pound cooked beets
- 2 tablespoons horseradish
- Lemon wedges, sour cream, chopped dill, capers, crackers, and bread for serving
Make the curing salt
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the salt with the sugar and pickling spice blend. Set the salmon on a rimmed plate and rub all over with the spice mixture.
Put the beets, horseradish, and remaining 1 tablespoon salt into a food processor and purée until fairly smooth.
Spread half of the beet mixture onto the plate, roughly in the shape of the fish. Top with the fish and remaining beet mixture, pressing to cover completely. Cover tightly with plastic and place a heavy plate on top to lightly weigh down the salmon. Refrigerate until the flesh is firm and a good amount of liquid has pooled in the dish, 24 to 48 hours, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Slice and serve
Pour off the liquid, scrape off the beets, and briefly rinse the fish under cold water. Pat very dry and thinly slice using a very sharp, thin-bladed knife. Use a lemon wedge to moisten the blade for easier slicing.
Serve with your favorite accoutrements and a glass of something bubbly!
Pair it Up
Serve something sparkling and slightly acidic to balance the sweetness of the beets. Spanish cava, Italian prosecco, or a fizzy Alvarinho from Portugal are all delightful choices.
Level it Up
Feel free to customize the spice blends in the cure. Use the same amount of salt and sugar but swap out the pickling spices with crushed pink peppercorns and dill seeds, or for a classic gravlax, use crushed juniper berries.
Change it Up
Cured salmon can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and can be added to hash browns and scrambled eggs or as a super luxe topping for pizza bianca (no tomatoes) — just add it after the pizza comes out of the oven.
Know Your Cook
- Grace Parisi -
Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.