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Making salmon gravlax at home is a fun weekend project, and with very little effort, you can produce some gorgeous results that will amaze even your hardest-to-impress foodie friend. I've always done this with the traditional fresh dill sprigs, but after enjoying a beet-stained version at Plaj in San Francisco, I decided to try my hand. And, also stain my hand.

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
2 days
2 days
1 /2 pound gravlax


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir kosher salt, sugar, and cayenne together in a bowl.

  • Line a dish with cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Sprinkle 1/3 of the salt-sugar mixture over the bottom. Place salmon skin side-down in the dish. Grate beet over the salmon and spread evenly to cover. Sprinkle the remaining salt-sugar mixture on top, varying the amount according to the thickness of each section.

  • Fold cheesecloth over the salmon and cover the top with plastic wrap. Wrap a brick in aluminum foil and place on top of the salmon. Let cure in the refrigerator until salmon is firm to the touch and translucent when sliced, about 36 hours. You can carefully unwrap, and poke to test, and then rewrap, and let cure longer if need be.

  • Transfer salmon to a paper towel-lined plate. Scrape off the grated beet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, about 18 hours more. Slice salmon thinly at a 45-degree angle, gliding knife back and forth and turning it up and away from the skin.

Chef's Notes:

This will need to cure for 1 to 3 days depending on the thickness of the salmon. These times and measurements should work for 6 to 10 ounces of salmon. But if you want to do something larger, then you may have to do some research for techniques that work better when doing a thicker piece of fish.

Feel free to cure fish with fresh dill springs on top and/or substitute cayenne with black pepper if desired.

I think a brick works great for a press, but anything that weighs a few pounds would be fine, as long as it's large, and flat enough to distribute the weight evenly. A book with a few cans of soup on it would do the trick.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of curing ingredients. The actual amount of curing mixture consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts

159 calories; protein 11.5g; carbohydrates 14.1g; fat 6.1g; cholesterol 33.2mg; sodium 5739mg. Full Nutrition