Top | Fish and Seafood

Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)

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This classic Scandinavian dish is an adaptation of a recipe created by San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins for Chow magazine. Serve with cold marinated potatoes, mustard sauce, bagels and cream cheese, draped over crackers and crème fraîche, or just plain.


  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 2 cups kosher salt
  3. 2 Tbsp. cracked peppercorns
  4. Zest of 1 medium lemon
  5. 1 large bunch of fresh dill, coarsely chopped (stems included)
  6. 1 small bunch or handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (stems included)
  7. 1½ lb. fresh salmon fillets (each about ½ inch thick), skin on (scales removed), pin bones removed


  1. In a bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, and cracked peppercorns. In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon zest, dill, and parsley.
  2. Pour about half of the sugar/salt/pepper mixture into a large, flat baking dish. Arrange about half of the zest/dill/parsley mixture on top. Dredge the salmon fillets in the remaining sugar-salt mixture, then nestle them in the dish. Arrange the rest of the zest and herbs atop the salmon, then pour the rest of the sugar-salt blend on top.
  3. Place another, smaller baking dish (nesting Pyrex dishes are nice) on top of the salmon and place weights in the upper dish (canned goods work well). Put the entire assembly into the fridge and leave it alone for 10 to 12 hours.
  4. Check the fish by scraping off some of the curing mixture; if the fish is pliably soft but no longer raw-feeling, it should be done. If you’re not sure, taste a slice; it should resemble lox in texture and taste, although it will look more translucent. (Be careful not to overcure the fish; it will gradually turn hard around the edges and eventually turn into fish jerky.)
  5. Brush off the curing mixture, rinse the fish under cold water, and pat dry. Slice the fish thinly at an angle (this makes it easier to cut the slices away from the skin) and serve at room temperature.