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Gravlax

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Serves eight to twelve as an appetizer.

Discover how satisfying and easy it is to make gravlax, and you’ll want to do it again and again. This rendition is flavored with the traditional lemon and dill, but you can get as inventive as you want with the flavorings so long as you keep the salt amount the same. You can even use more sugar, if you like.

  • 1 to 1-1/4 lb. skin-on salmon fillet, preferably centercut and very fresh
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vodka (optional)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

Set a small perforated pan, a flat-bottomed colander or strainer basket, or even a cooling rack or a broiler pan in a baking dish or similar container to catch drippings. Line the perforated pan with a large piece of cheesecloth, allowing the edges to drape over the sides of the pan.

Remove the pin bones from the salmon and put it skin side down in the center of the cheesecloth. Brush the lemon juice and vodka (if using) evenly over the salmon. In a small bowl, mix the salt, dill, sugar, and pepper. Pack this cure mixture on top of the salmon in a thick, even layer. Wrap the edges of the cheesecloth around the salmon to loosely bundle it up.

Choose another pan that’s roughly the same size as the salmon—a loaf pan, for example—and put it on top of the salmon. Add about 2 lb. of weight to the pan—two 15-oz. food cans work well—to press the salmon and help it exude moisture. Refrigerate for 3 days. Gently brush off and discard the cure.

To serve, slice very thinly at a sharp angle to make wide slices.

Make Ahead Tips

Well-wrapped gravlax will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on twelve servings; Calories (kcal): 80; Fat (g): 4; Fat Calories (kcal): 35; Saturated Fat (g): 1; Protein (g): 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Carbohydrates (g): 2; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 1230; Cholesterol (mg): 20; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Bed,Bath & Beyond carries cheesecloth. I love gravlax but am worried about parasites in salmon. I've heard that you should freeze it briefly first to kill any possible parasites encysted in the flesh. Does anybody have any information about this and how negatively does it affect texture& flavor? I understand this is a common practice @ sushi bars.

This recipe is so simple and produces consistent results that people rave about. I would only use wild caught salmon of course. The hardest part is finding cheesecloth @ your local market.

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