Two Gravlax Recipes

gravlax recipe by the gastronomist

Making gravlax is super simple. It will be ready to eat in 3 days but the total preparation will require less than 10 minutes of your time.

My Two cents about the Traditional Gravlax recipe

The traditional Scandinavian gravlax recipe calls for rock salt, sugar, dill seeds and fresh dills to transform a sushi-grade salmon fillet into a delicacy. You can find the recipe over and over on the Web. I choose to illustrate it with  photos from Cristi Martin of The Gastronomist. Her pictures are inspiring plus she explained how she did the recipe in simple terms.

During summer, skip the leaving at room temperature for 6 hours and put it right away in the fridge.
Contrary to what many recipes, I believe that there is no need to put rock or any kind of weight over the plastic wrap. You should turn the salmon every 12 hours to allow the salmon to marinate well in the brining liquid that has accumulated in the dish. Remember that it takes between 2 to 3 days to properly make gravlax.

Traditional ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon of dill seeds that you will ground
  • 2 bunches of fresh dills
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

A variation of the Gravlax

A part of eco-label salmon that I got from True North Salmon for my BBQ party became a remarkable gravlax. My friend Muriel gave me a head start by grounding and mixing the aromatic herbs to salt cure the salmon. Except for the salt-curing ingredients, the technique stays the same as with the traditional recipe. I will redo Muriel’s recipe again. My husband and I, we both enjoyed the taste.

Muriel’s Gravlax Recipe

non-traditional gravlax recipe

For a 250-350 g fresh Salmon fillet, select an airtight plastic container or a ceramic square dish. Cut the salmon so it fits perfectly flat in your container.

Mix well with your hand the curing ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of coarse salt or sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 handful of fresh herbs that you finely chopped. A mezzaluna with a curved chopping board is ideal for this task. Either use estragon, mint or another strong aromatic herb of your liking.
  • 1 tablespoon of ground fennel seeds or dill seeds. You release more flavor if you ground the seeds yourself. The best tools for the job are the old mortar and pestle or a basic coffee grinder that you dedicate to grounding seeds. The coffee scent is too strong. It is not a good idea to mix them with the herbs and seeds.
  • 1 tablespoon of gomazio, which is simply a ground mixture of sesame seeds, black sesame seeds and sea salt. You can use the hand mixer to do this or a coffee grinder. The portion is 1 portion of sesame seeds, 1 portion of black sesame seeds for 2 portions of sea salt. You can keep the rest in an airtight container.
  • Place the fish with the skin up on top. Cover well with the mixture. Put into the fridge. Return every 12 hours for 3 days.
  • Rinse to remove the herbs.

Use a sharp knife to diagonally cut the thinnest slices you are able to make. You cut until the skin.

Regardless of the recipe, gravlax is perfect when eaten with bagels and cheese, to make gravlax canapés, inside a salad or as the piece de resistance of of a pasta dish.

+ Emile Henry Ceradon Oval Gratin Dish reg $60, on sale at $50 at Macy’s
+ Braun Aromatic Coffee Grinder $24.99 USD at
+ La Baleine Sea Salt $3.49 USD
+ photos for the montage at the top: The Gastronomist

  • judyfoodie
    June 15, 2009 at 11:38

    That looks great! I read in places that you need to freeze the salmon before hand in case there are parasites. What’s your opinion on that? I love salmon and will definitely try this out.

  • All type of RECIPES!.. » Two Gravlax Recipes | At Home with Kim Vallee
    June 15, 2009 at 19:48

    […] the original: Two Gravlax Recipes | At Home with Kim Vallee Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 06:47 RSS feed for comments on this post Leave a comment | […]

  • Eden Spodek
    June 16, 2009 at 11:19

    Kim, thanks so much for sharing your recipes. I’ve never made gravlax before and had no idea it was so easy. I have some curing in my fridge right now. I can’t wait to try it in a couple days. (Note: True North Salmon Company is a client.)

  • At Home with Kim Vallee
    June 16, 2009 at 12:02

    JudyFoodie: I make some inquiries but beware that I am NOT an expert on that question. It is true that the piece of salmon may contain parasites. I did not have problems with the gravlax I made without freezing it. My friend never had problems either. It simply shows that most of the times it is OK or that we were lucky, or that we have a more resilient body constitution.

    Beware, that I read that the home freezer may not be cold enough to kill the parasites. You need a commercial freezer to do that. It seems that it can be done by other commercial techniques as well but it is hard to find reliable facts on that matter. The safer option would be to get sushi grade since technically, they are supposed to be parasite-free. But even that, is not 100% safe.

  • Design a Backyard Escape this Weekend | At Home with Kim Vallee
    June 18, 2009 at 19:40

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  • Swedish Lady
    August 16, 2011 at 20:16

    The salmon should be frozen for 2 days @minus 18 celcius(minus 8F) before curing.
    (defrost the salmon in the fridge before you start the curing)