Gravlax or gravad laks is salmon cured with salt and sugar. This used to be a method to preserve salmon, and nowadays it is still prepared for its nice flavor. The name actually means “buried salmon” in Scandiavian languages, as the salmon used to be buried on the beach to preserve it.
Gravlax tastes similar to smoked salmon, except that it’s not smoked. It is very easy to make your own, which will certainly impress your friends. All you need is sushi grade salmon and some patience.
The curing process will draw a lot of liquid out of the salmon and will make it firm, allowing you to slice it thinly. But before slicing it, it is marinated first with olive oil, lemon juice, dill, salt and sugar. For both the curing stage and the marinating stage you can add other herbs and spices, we like to use beetroot juice as it gives it a nice purple tinge.
As with any dish you make yourself from scratch, you can tweak it to suit your own tastes.
For 4 to 6 servings
450 grams (1 lb) sushi grade salmon fillet with skin
100 grams (1/2 cup) coarse grey sea salt
100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
10 grams freshly ground black pepper
1 beetroot grated
For the marinade
extra virgin olive oil
freshly squeezed lemon juice
slices of lemon
Combine the sugar, salt, and pepper in a shallow container and stir until homogeneous.
Arrange the salmon in the container with a layer of the curing mixture underneath and a layer of the mixture on top ,add a layer of shaved beetroot in between..
Cover the salmon with plastic wrap and put a weight on it.
Refrigerate for 48 hours to cure (Or less, depending on the tickness of the salmon)..
The salmon will have firmed up, will have darkened in color, and will have released a lot of liquid.
Rinse the salmon under cold running water to remove the curing mixture. Pat dry with paper towels.
Put the salmon in a clean shallow dish, skin side down, and add freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Slice the gravlax crosswise, thinly and diagonally with a sharp long knife. Slicing diagonally will give you wider slices.
Serve the gravlax with capers, dill, and lemon. If you like you can add some freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil as well.