I decided to make some gravlax the other day with a piece of salmon fillet that I never got around to cooking for dinner. It’s a great way to preserve fish and M has always been known as a smoked salmon fiend. At any party with smoked salmon she would park herself in front of the buffet until it was gone. It takes three days to cure the fish so I started it Saturday night. I made the mistake of telling M that I was making it, but it wouldn’t be ready for a few days. “But I want some salmon noooow!”, she would say every day until it was finally done. Well, it turns out that she didn’t like it, strangely enough. “Not smoky enough”, or “I like the white parts, with crispy bits”, she would say. No problem, it’s just more for me and Jenna.
One fresh salmon fillet, about 2 pounds (center cut is best)
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons dried dill, or 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
Cut the salmon into two equal sized pieces, leaving the skin on. Mix the remaining ingredients together. Sprinkle a bit on the bottom of a pan big enough to hold the salmon. Put one piece of salmon skin side down in the dish. Coat it liberally with more of the mixture, and place the other piece of salmon on the top, skin side up, making sort of a sandwich. Put the remaining mixture on the top. Cover it with plastic wrap. Put something heavy on top of the salmon to weigh it down – another pan, or a plate with something else on top of it. Refrigerate it for three days, flipping it over once a day. After three days, rinse off the sugar-salt mixture, and slice and serve as needed.
If you feel like experimenting, try using different herbs and spices to flavor the gravlax. A restaurant where I used to work made a delicious curry gravlax, where they would mix a generous amount of curry powder into the sugar and salt mixture.