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Salmon Lox with Onion Jam and Avocado

photo: Scott Phillips

Servings: 6 to 8

A traditional beet cure (also called gravlax) gives the salmon a beautiful jewel-toned gradation of color that adds a real wow factor when serving.


For the lox

  • 2 packed cups light brown sugar
  • 5 oz. (1 cup) kosher salt
  • 1 medium red beet (about 7 oz.), peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 cup chili powder (about 2 oz.)
  • 1 Tbs. fennel seeds
  • 1-1/2 lb. sushi-grade skin-on salmon fillet, in one piece
  • 3 Tbs. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. bourbon


For the onion jam and avocado

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. wasabi powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro


  • Thinly sliced cucumber and radish, capers, and micro red sorrel leaves, for garnish
  • Assorted crackers and sliced bread, for serving

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 380
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 230
  • Fat (g): 26
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
  • Cholesterol (mg): 50
  • Sodium (mg): 1090
  • Carbohydrates (g): 20
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Sugar (g): 11
  • Protein (g): 22


Make the lox

  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, beet, chili powder, and fennel seeds, and mix well.
  • Put the salmon in a shallow dish and rub a handful of the beet mixture into both sides of the fish. Sprinkle the top of the salmon with the ginger, cilantro, and the remaining beet mixture, and press it gently on the fish. Drizzle with the bourbon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.


Make the onion jam and avocado

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, shallots, and  garlic, and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the poblanos  and cook until very soft, about 30 minutes. Add the soy sauce, honey, and vinegar, and cook to a jamlike consistency, adding up to another 1/4 cup oil as needed, about 30 minutes. Cool completely, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
  • Just before serving, combine the avocados with the wasabi, lime juice, and cilantro, and toss gently. Stir into the onion jam or serve separately.



  • Gently scrape the beet mixture and seasonings off the salmon, and rinse the fish under cold running water, if necessary. Using a long, thin-bladed slicing knife held at a 45-degree angle, thinly slice the salmon. (Don’t cut through the skin, which toughens during curing; rather, let it guide your knife where to end each slice.)
  • Garnish with cucumber, radish, capers, and sorrel leaves. Serve with the onion jam and avocado, more of the garnishes, and crackers and sliced bread.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • Samoa | 06/27/2017

    I followed this recipe precisely and cured it for the maximum amount of time, 2 days. It was salty beyond belief. It took my husband and I a couple of days to recover from all the salt in our systems. We love gravlax and have made other recipes in the past; so this recipe was a great disappointment. However, the onion jam that goes along with it was tasty.

  • burghard | 06/11/2017

    I have been making gravlax of various kinds for many years. This one did not impress. The result is an overly sweet salmon lacking flavor depth. Just looking at the recipe, 2 parts of sugar and 1 part of salt is the reverse to what usually is done curing gravlax. I halved the recipe for the curing ingredients and still had too much for a 2.5 lb salmon fillet. With the beets the whole process becomes very messy. I didn't do the onion jam, so I cannot comment on that part of the recipe.

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