I know it might seem like all I do is eat comfort food and drink cocktails all day every day, but as amazing as that sounds it’s not really how my day goes. I’ve mentioned before that I pretty much always have oatmeal or a smoothie for breakfast. While both are delicious and easy to transport to work, neither are terribly exciting. But you know what is exciting? Gravlax.
Homemade gravlax turns out to be ridiculously easy to make (though it’s a little tougher if you have this guy sniffing around). It also happens to be super tasty and an excellent breakfast or appetizer. I find gravlax to be more delicate than smoked salmon, and it has a texture that is buttery and really smooth. Not sure of the difference between gravlax, lox, and smoked salmon? Well, gravlax is a type of lox, and involves salt-curing the salmon. Smoked salmon is also salt-cured, but it’s then cold-smoked, giving it a slight smoky flavor. If you haven’t already tried gravlax but like smoked salmon, you will love it, and if you already love gravlax, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make at home. So, how easy is it? Well, just start with a really fresh piece of salmon.
Coat it in a salt, sugar, dill, and pepper mixture and then wrap it up (fairly tightly) in plastic wrap.
And then just let it sit in the fridge for 24-36 hours. I turned mine a couple of times, but that’s not absolutely necessary. After 24-36 hours, remove from the fridge, carefully unwrap, and then rinse off the salt/sugar mixture. You’ll want to dry the salmon with paper towels, and then you’re ready to go. All that’s left is slicing and serving.
Make sure you slice it very thinly.
And then serve however you’d like. Perhaps you’d like to serve the gravlax as an appetizer? Try putting it on little pieces of rye and add some capers.
Would you rather have it for breakfast? Try my favorite, on a bagel with cream cheese, capers, and scallions.
Other ideas include- on top of pasta, on a wasa cracker with butter/cream cheese, with a light mustard vinaigrette, or just plain. Because really, no matter what you do you can’t go wrong with the smooth, delicate, and downright buttery taste of homemade gravlax. It may not be comfort food, but it definitely feels like a treat!
- 1 to 1½ lb fillet of salmon, pin bones removed*
- ½ cup salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
- 20 grinds of black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
Mix the salt, sugar, chopped dill, pepper, and paprika together. Place the salmon fillet on a large piece of plastic wrap, skin side down. Cover the top and sides with the salt/sugar mixture and pat it into the salmon. It will seem like there is too much, but just mound it all on top of the salmon.
Carefully wrap the salmon in the plastic wrap. I added another 2 layers of plastic wrap to keep everything tightly packaged.
Place the salmon on a plate and put in the fridge for 24-36 hours. I’ve done both 25 hours and 36 hours, both will work. The longer it sits the drier and stronger the flavor will be. If you’re able, turn the salmon over every few hours. When ready to eat, remove the plastic wrap and rinse off the cure. Dry with paper towels and then thinly slice. Serve as desired and enjoy!
Inspired by many sources but primarily from Mark Bittman
*Feel free to cut the recipe in half