I might never buy lox again. My world has been rocked by the simple act of curing my own salmon. I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of myself in the kitchen!
Gravlax is a cured salmon dish that originated in Norway where they would bury fresh fish in the sand. The salt pulls bacteria out of the fish, curing it for a short time. I poured over gravlax recipes and methods for weeks before attempting it myself and I’m proud to say, my mom said that this is the best lox she’s ever had.
People have lots of methods for doing this. Some people use loads of spices. Traditional Norwegian gravlax is just salt, sugar, and dill. I added lemon zest because I love lemon with salmon.
I used slightly more salt than sugar and buried the filet. And I mean buried! If you dive into gravlax research like I did, you’ll find that some recipes use practically a sprinkling of salt. I like to get pretty medieval in the kitchen so I decided to bury the salmon in my cure and leave it alone for three days. The curing time across the internet varies from 12 hours to about 7 days. I found that, for me, three days is just perfect.
This is so easy, it would be perfect for entertaining. The hardest part is slicing into pretty slices. I’d say 2/3 of my slices came out really nice and the other 1/3….well nobody’s perfect on the first go round, now are they? Be sure to scrape off the cure with a damp paper towel on day three or you’ll get a really salty bite. Gravlax will keep in the fridge for about five days after it’s done curing.
You could really impress guests by serving home cured Norwegian gravlax as an appetizer (get the recipe for my Smoked Salmon Crostini here) or with a mustard sauce, as is traditional in Norway.
My personal favorite thing to do with lox though is on a bagel. Fun fact: lox on a bagel is one of my all time favorite breakfasts. Learn how to make your very own bagel board here. No matter how you decide to enjoy your gravlax, I hope you love it as much as I do!
- Rinse salmon filet and pat dry.
- Zest lemon. Reserve fruit for another use. Whisk together zest, salt, sugar, and chopped dill.
- Spoon half of salt mixture onto wax paper. Set salmon on top of salt mixture. Press remaining salt mixture on top side of salmon. Fold wax paper over salmon and wrap with plastic wrap. Set salmon on a baking sheet or in a dish and chill in the fridge for three days. Don’t touch it. Don’t unwrap it. Don’t even look at it. Just let it hang out.
- Unwrap fish and wipe off cure with a damp paper towel. Slice very thin at a 45 degree angle with a sharp knife.
- Serve with bagels and cream cheese or on crackers. Delicious with freshly squeezed lemon and more dill!
- Bonus: Learn how to build your own bagel board with gravlax here.