Difficulty: So Easy

Gravlax on a bagel

Gravlax is a finer, creamier version of lox, Norwegian in origin.  I am sure some readers are aware of this but I have made it recently and some of my friends asked for clarification and so I did a little of my own research.  Where lox is smoked, gravlax is cold-cured.  Anyway, my German aunt, Renate, used to make it every year as an appetizer for Christmas alongside which she also had a mustard sauce, Hovmästarsås. That is the traditional way to dine on gravlax, on top  a piece of firm pumpernickel maybe, but eating it just the way lox is eaten tastes a little better to me.  I like mine on either butter or cream cheese on rye (or pumpernickel) with a little lemon sprinkled on & then a bit of pepper.  Obviously, experiment at will according to your own palate.  It is one of the easiest things to prepare, even if it takes a few days, and is totally worth the wait.

For 2-5 lbs. of salmon.  If closer to 5 lbs., I recommend changing portion to ½ cup each on the salt & sugar.

Purchase two pieces of salmon that mirror each other in shape and size, skin on.

In glass dish that will accommodate the length of the fish, mix the following ingredients:


1/3 cup kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar

2-3 tsp. black pepper

Several sprigs of dill (optional)


Dredge all sides of the salmon pieces in the mixture so that everything is covered.  Do not toss remainder of the dry rub–just keep it in the dish.  Place one piece, skin side down, in the dish.  Place the other piece on top of the other, flesh side down (so that it is flesh to flesh, skin always on the outside).

Salmon flesh to flesh from above


Put plastic wrap over the dish to cover.  Weight the fish (I use a brick on top of an upside down plate).  Ideally, try to find a better looking brick than I did.

Weighted salmon clear picture


For the next 3-4 days simply flip the fish each morning and each night, holding them together keeping skin side out.  You will notice after first night that liquid resides in the dish.   This is OK since that’s what’s helping cure your fish.  After 3 days (or 4), rinse the fish to get rid of excess salt/sugar and dill.  Before serving, using a broad-blade sharp knife, slice at a 45 degree angle (as below) to get nice, thin slices.


Angle cut Salmon Picture