The Great Salmon Adventure: Part 3, Gravlax

So, my salmon adventure comes to an end about a week after it started. I had sushi today for lunch, and after chewing on a small piece of smoked salmon in one of my rolls, can assertively say that this salmon beats any store bought/sushi chain version, any day.

In prepping for this recipe, I did a bit of research online to see if there were any methods or tricks that would make this the best cure ever. But there wasn’t, this recipe was so simple that there’s nowhere to go wrong. Through this research I also realized I was making Gravlax, not Lox. Lox is a cured, cold smoked salmon. Gravlax on the other hand is the term for a straight cure, also called Gravad Lax in some parts of Scandinavia.

The salmon can cure for as little as 24 hours, but most recipes I saw suggested at least a 36 hours cure. My bad boys sat in our spare fridge, wrapped in their juices, for a good 40+ hours. I was taking no chances.

As I unwrapped the salmon, I couldn’t help but notice how much juice had been extracted by the salt, for which I’ve always marveled at that magical ability of salt to suck the water out of any matter. I rinsed the filets under water ┬áto remove any bits of salt and dill, and patted them dry to inspect how the cure took to them. Now flatter, denser, and darker in color compared to its starting point, I held it up to my nose and- surprisingly- was shocked at the relatively light scent of salmon.

Using my best sushi-chef abilities and wielding my sharpest knife, I carefully sliced against the grain. Smooth slices on a bias, using one hand at the end of the salmon to catch each slice falling off. Finally my years of sitting in front of a sushi counter had done me some good. Oily, fleshy, salty, tender, oh-so-flavorful. It was so easy, once the mercury runs through my system I’m eager to try it again.


recipe adapted from Cooking for Engineers


  • 2 pounds sushi-grade salmon filets, skinned, trimmed, and deboned.
  • 4 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Dill- fresh or dried


  1. Rinse salmon under cool water, and lay on towels to pat dry.
  2. Mix the salt, sugar and pepper.
  3. Lay the filet (mine was cut into 3 sections, so I did this three times) on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Cake the filet with the salt cure, making sure to cover the filet in a nice thick layer of salt.
  4. Sprinkle the top with dill, or lay fresh dill to cover the top
  5. Wrap up the filet, and repeat twice with two more sheets of plastic wrap.
  6. Let sit in the fridge for 36-48 hours, or more.

Yield: 10-15 servings

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