Updated: Feb 18
A burst of unexpected citrus brightness in an otherwise classic preparation.
Curing your own salmon is even easier than cooking salmon. Using the zest of grapefruit imparts a traditional citrus accent with the surprise of singular grapefruit flavor. Prep time is all of 15 minutes. Cure time is two days (but it can be three if you need it to be). Then slice, serve, and devour! Pair the sliced gravlax with bagels or toast slathered with Grapefruit-Black Pepper Butter for a layered and luscious flavor explosion! For a color explosion try Beet-Cured Gravlax.
Essential equipment: cutting board; chef's or fish knife; 9 x 13 nonreactive baking dish (glass or ceramic); microplane; mixing bowl; dry measuring cup; measuring spoons; rubber spatula; plastic wrap; plate or small pan
Ingredients: 1, 3-4 pound filet of salmon
1 cup kosher salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
zest of two large pink grapefruits
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper 1 bunch fresh dill, sprigs and stalks roughly chopped
ILOC tip: the fattier the salmon, the better the gravlax. Atlantic salmon generally yields a much more flavorful and texturally pleasing gravlax than, say, Sockeye.
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt, sugar, grapefruit zest, and pepper.
2. Place 1/3 of the cure mixture in the bottom of a nonreactive baking dish. Place the salmon filet, skin-side down, on top of this beet mixture. Place the remaining cure mixture on top of the salmon flesh and distribute evenly. Sprinkle the top with the chopped dill.
3. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap. Place a plate or small sheet pan on top of the salmon and then weigh that down with a couple of cans or bottles - or a milk carton! - from your refrigerator.
4. Cure the salmon for a minimum 48 hours up to no more than 72 hours.
5. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and scrape away and discard the dill and cure mixture. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Cut the salmon into thin slices at an angle and serve immediately. Alternatively, you can store the whole salmon wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to one week in the refrigerator.
It's About Technique, Not Torture!
Watch the video for tips on how to slice gravlax (this video features Beet-Cured Gravlax).
Serves 10-12 people.