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Salt and Sugar Cured Salmon (Gravlax) Recipe

User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Salt cured salmon
Armstrong Studios/Photodisc/Getty Images
Salmon fillets are cold-cured with salt, sugar, pepper, dill, and alcohol to make gravlax. It is imperative that the fish be absolutely as fresh as possible. No cooking required. Plan ahead. This will take about 3 days.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) salmon, weighed after cleaning and beheading, skin on
  • 3 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 good-size bunch dill, roughly chopped, stems and all
  • 1 Tablespoon spirits: brandy, gin, aquavit, lemon vodka, etc.


Fillet the salmon or have the fishmonger fillet it for you; the fish need not be scaled.

Lay both halves, skin side down, on a plate. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, and pepper, spread the dill over them, and splash on the spirits. Sandwich the fillets together, tail to tail, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Cover the sandwich with another plate and something that weighs about a pound -- an unopened can of coffee or beans, for example. Refrigerate.

Open the package every 12 to 24 hours and baste, inside and out, with the accumulated juices. On the second or third day, when the flesh has lost its translucence, slice thinly as you would smoked salmon -- on the bias and without the skin -- and serve with rye bread or pumpernickel, and lemon wedges.

Yield: 12 or more appetizer servings

Recipe Source: Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking by Mark Bittman (Macmillan)
Reprinted with permission.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Just perfect, and easy!, Member Heidi_D

This was my first time making gravlox for a Scandinavian potluck and it was a hit -- first thing on the table completely gone. The recipe was perfect just as is -- I would not change a single thing. I was initially intimidated by the idea of cold smoking, but plan to make this again. I marinated the gravlox a full 72 hours before slicing with a sharp knife. Not too salty if you just do a quick rinse prior to slicing.

1 out of 1 people found this helpful.

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