Cold-Cured Gravlax

Source: Karen Solomon, author, Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs

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Excerpted from Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs by © Karen Solomon. Photography by © Aubrie Pick. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on October 6, 2018.

Makes ¾ pound

1 pound salmon fillet, skin-on
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh dill, stems trimmed

Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Let it sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Combine salt, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the fish, concentrating on the fleshiest parts but also including the sides and the skin. Lay the fish, skin side down, on top of a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay the dill on top of the flesh and press into place. Wrap the fish and the dill tightly in the plastic wrap, then wrap it again, making a tight package. Place the wrapped fish, skin side down, inside a Ziploc bag or in a shallow dish, as it may release some liquid as it cures. Place a flat 1-pound weight on top of the fish, such as a dinner plate with a bag of rice or beans on top. Allow the fish to cure in the refrigerator for three days.

Unwrap the fish and discard the dill. Rinse the fish and pat it dry. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends heating the fish to an internal temperature of 140°F. Though this is the safest practice, it will completely change the silky texture of the fish. Nevertheless, preheat your oven to 200° F. Place a rack on top of a baking sheet. Place the gravlax on the rack and heat in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it reaches 140° F at its thickest part.      

To serve, slice long, thin pieces against the grain of the fish. It’s easier to slice the whole thing at once, but not essential. Note that curing causes the skin to become a bit flabby.

Store by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. Wrapped airtight, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. 

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