Stéphane Gabart has beautiful photograph on his blog My French Heaven, and the recipes he shares with us are both simple and delicious. His post on gravlax inspired me to try this for myself. 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.
Gravad lax 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, and dill. For both the curing stage and the marinating stage you can add other herbs and spices, but for my first try I decided to keep it simple.
As with any dish you make yourself from scratch, you can tweak it to suit your own tastes. I
started too late and didn’t have enough time wanted to keep some of the salmon flavor, so I decided to marinate the salmon only for a few hours.
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
For the marinade
extra virgin olive oil
freshly squeezed lemon juice
slices of lemon
Gravlax pairs best with a dry sauvignon blanc, especially Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé.