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Published November 18, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This salmon gravlax is cured in salt, sugar, pepper, and fresh dill for 48 hours. It takes minimal effort and will absolutely blow the doors off at your next brunch.
Gravlax is a Swedish specialty consisting of raw fresh salmon cured in a salt, sugar, and dill mixture for 48 hours. It is then rinsed and sliced paper thin and served on bread, bagels, or toast alongside assorted toppings.
What’s the Difference Between Gravlax and Smoked Salmon?
Gravlax is fresh salmon cured in salt and herbs for 48 hours. The salt draws out the moisture making it almost like salmon jerky and safe to eat. Smoked salmon, on the other hand, is fresh salmon that has been brined or seasoned with herbs and seasonings that are then smoked, either cold or hot, for several hours. Both are completely different from each other in technique and flavor.
Is It Safe to Eat?
According to the FDA, gravlax is acceptable and safe for eating. When you’re curing the salmon in the salt solution, it’s done so in the refrigerator below 40°. Anything above that is when bacteria grow. The process pulls out all the moisture and liquid from the salmon, which can cause it to go bad in the first place. So, in the end, yes, it’s safe to eat!
How Long Does Gravlax Last?
Gravlax can last tightly wrapped in plastic or parchment paper in the refrigerator under 40° for up to 2 weeks. I personally believe keeping it whole and slicing it to order also helps to preserve life.
How to Make Gravlax
For this recipe, you want to start by selecting a beautiful fresh piece of skin-on, de-boned salmon from your local fish market or trusted grocery store. The flesh of the salmon should be right orange and have a sweet smell. If it’s a bit slimy, don’t get it!
You start by mixing the salt, herbs, and seasonings together, then lay half of it on plastic wrap, place the salmon skin-side down, and then cover it with the other half of the seasonings.
You mix everything together, lay half of it on plastic wrap, place the salmon skin-side down, and then cover it with the other half of the seasonings.
Wrap up the salmon and let it sit for 48 hours to have homemade gravlax. The last step is to rinse off all the remaining seasonings very well. Then, you just slice and serve!
What Is It Served With?
Serving gravlax is so pretty, and there are so many accompaniments you can serve with it. Here are my favorites:
- Fresh bread
- Whipped cream cheese
- Fresh cheeses
- Fresh sliced vegetables, and
The point of serving this is to not only make sure it tastes delicious but looks absolutely gorgeous. With the holidays in full effect, I’m not sure there is a more impressive (or easier to make) breakfast or brunch spread than this recipe. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a delicious homemade gravlax brunch!
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 2 days ahead of time.
How to Store: Place it wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze it wrapped up in plastic for up to 2 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before serving.
CHEF NOTES + TIPS
- You can also add other spices to the salt and sugar cure, such as cumin seeds, turmeric, fennel seeds, celery seed, or coriander.
More Breakfast Recipes
Homemade Gravlax Recipe
- 1 cup of coarse sea salt
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of crushed whole peppercorns
- ¼ cup of fresh dill leaves
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2- pound side of fresh sashimi grade wild caught salmon
- assorted crackers, bagels, breads, cream cheeses and vegetables
- In a large bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, peppercorns, dill, and lemon zest until combined.
- Next, lay half of it down and spread it out to the size of the salmon side on a large sheet of plastic wrap.
- Next, place the salmon skin down onto the seasoning mixture and then cover the salmon with the remaining half of the seasonings.
- Wrap the salmon completely with the plastic and place it in a pan.
- Let it cure in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
- Remove the plastic and rinse very well.
- Garnish with fresh dill leaves and slice things and serve with assorted accompaniments.