Tag Archives: salmon

Gravlax: A Lesson in Home-Curing Salmon

Lox ‘n’ bagels is kind of special occasion food in my family. It’s my dad’s way of saying “I love you” to my mom: “Happy birthday, dear. I got you schmear.”

The parents were actually here visiting this weekend—not for any special reason (I did get a new job this week, which I’m totally over-the-moon stoked about, so I guess that IS something). So I thought their visit as good a reason as any to try my hand at home-curing fish.

Anyway, I always thought there was some complex and almost magical process behind the making of lox. Ha—there isn’t! Impressive home gourmet doesn’t get any simpler than this: mix, spread, wrap and refrigerate.

The original recipe from Apples and Butter used a slightly different herb rub—I decided to add grated lemon zest to mine. It also says to refrigerate for 24 hours; I refrigerated for 36 for good measure and extra flavor.

If you’re wondering about whether to use fresh or previously frozen fish, I’d normally say fresh is always preferable. After doing a little online research on the subject, however, it looks like the frozen kind would work too. Actually, there was some discussion about freezing the fish in order to kill bacteria, so maybe previously frozen isn’t such a bad idea. In any case, I went with fresh; it looked prettier at the store.

Seriously incredible. I had my dad try it and he thought it was store-bought!! But way better! Can’t wait to try this out with other fish. In my family, we always serve this on bagels (or toast or crepe) smeared with cream cheese and topped with sliced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It’s divine.


Gravlax (adapted from Apples and Butter)

printable recipe


1 lb. fillet salmon, skin removed

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tbsp sugar

zest of 1 organic lemon, grated

1/2 bunch dill, including stems, finely chopped

1 tsp water


  1. Coat salmon in chopped dill and lemon zest. Stir together salt, pepper, sugar and water.
  2. Place half the salt mixture on a piece of plastic wrap, place the salmon on top of the salt and coat the top and sides of the salmon with the remaining salt mixture.
  3. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and place in a rimmed baking dish (the salmon will give off a good amount of liquid). Place another dish on top of the salmon and weigh down with a few cans of food. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  4. Remove from the plastic wrap and wipe off the salt. Slice thinly and serve (in a salad or, as we do in my family, on a bagel, toast or crepe smeared with cream cheese, topped with avocado and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice).