Salt and Sugar Cured Salmon Gravlax Appetizer

Salmon with salt, sugar, and dill


Akchamczuk / Getty Images 

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Refrigerate: 72 hrs
Total: 72 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
306 Calories
16g Fat
2g Carbs
36g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 306
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 1833mg 80%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 36g
Calcium 29mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Salmon fillets are cold-cured with salt, sugar, pepper, dill, and liquor to make gravlax. The salmon must be absolutely as fresh as possible. No cooking required. Plan ahead -- this will take about three days. Gravlax is a sophisticated appetizer that is a good choice for a summertime patio party.

This recipe is taken from "Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking" by Mark Bittman. 


  • 1 3- to 4-pound salmon (weighed after cleaning and beheading, skin on)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 bunch dill (roughly chopped, stems and all)
  • 1 tablespoon liquor (brandy, gin, aquavit, lemon vodka)

Steps to Make It

  1. Fillet the salmon or have the fishmonger fillet it for you; the fish need not be scaled.

  2. Lay both halves, skin side down, on a plate.

  3. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, and pepper, spread the dill over the salmon and splash on your liquor of choice. 

  4. Sandwich the fillets together, tail to tail, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

  5. Cover the salmon "sandwich" with another plate and something that weighs about a pound -- an unopened can of coffee or beans, for example. Refrigerate.

  6. Open the package every 12 to 24 hours and baste, inside and out, with the accumulated juices.

  7. On the second or third day, when the flesh has lost its translucence, slice thinly as you would smoked salmon -- on the bias and without the skin -- and serve with rye bread, pumpernickel or bialys and lemon wedges.