Gravlax Tutorial

I was asked to do a recipe for gravlax. I checked out the retail cost for this delicacy on the Zabar’s website. If you buy this ready made it will set you back $60/lb.  It’s easy enough to find good salmon for less than $15/lb.

Gravlax is so easy to make I would be comfortable asking a grade school child who had never cooked before  to make it (but not to slice the fish).


This is how to do it.

You need equal amounts of sugar and salt. I like using brown sugar, but if you haven’t any in your pantry use white. How much to use??? Enough to thickly coat the fish.


Traditionally, gravlax is made as two sides of fish that are sandwiched together with the salt/sugar mix in between. You can certainly make just one fish side at a time.

I cut the fat ends off of two matched filets of salmon.


Mix the salt and sugar.


You can if you wish add some gin to the mixture and turn the salt and sugar into a thick paste. You can also add a few juniper berries if you can find them in your local store. It may be easier to find gin. You can add a different booze. My last batch was made with scotch, but you can also make this with no booze at all.

If the thought of touching raw fish makes you squeamish wear plastic gloves as you work, or put plastic bags on your hands.

Coat the fish on both the skin side and the flesh side, thickly with the salt/sugar (booze) mixture.

I mistakenly reached for the jar of allspice and sprinkled a few on the fish. The allspice will taste fine so I left it. I then located the juniper berries and added a few to the fish. You can also add fennel seeds, black pepper or caraway seeds to the fish.


Put the fish into s Zip-lok bag and put it in the fridge under something heavy.


Right now my fish is under a bottle of orange juice.

Flip the fish over ever 12-24 hours, or when you remember to.

The fish will be cured in about 36 hours.


The fish will become darker red as it cures.

When you are ready to serve the fish first wash off the sugar and salt. Dry the fish off with a paper towel. Lay the fish  on a flat surface and slice thinly. Traditionally the fish is sliced at a flattish angle. Yummy served with a honey mustard sauce or a cucumber dill/sour cream sauce.

If you want you gravlax to look like Zabar’s thickly coat the fish with finely minced dill before slicing.

That’s it. Not even close to rocket science.


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