Beet-Cured Salmon Gravlax


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.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
2 days 6 hrs
Total Time:
2 days 6 hrs 20 mins
1 /2 pound gravlax


  • ¼ cup kosher salt

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1 (8 ounce) tail section of fresh salmon with skin on

  • 1 small beet, or as needed


  1. Stir kosher salt, sugar, and cayenne together in a bowl.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 (per serving)

159 Calories
6g Fat
14g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 159
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 5739mg 250%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 258mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.