daily thoughts

gravlax – homemade cured salmon

gravlax~ homemade cured salmon recipe

If you’ve ever been to and IKEA, you know about the meatballs. And, they are awesome. But, my favorite things to eat at IKEA are the cinnamon buns and gravad-lax. (As they call it is Sweden.)

What it is, is cured salmon. Similar to smoked salmon or Lox that you may find in delis, but without the smoked flavor, and with a lemony-dill flavor instead. And it melts in your mouth.


This recipe has four major ingredients; dill, salt, sugar and vodka. And, of course- salmon.


Did I mention there’s no cooking involved? It’s one of those dishes like ceviche that “cooks” itself, actually cures is the proper word.  Just make sure you’re using the freshest fish possible. Also,  any oily fish can be used. Salmon is  the traditional variety however. If you’re  going to make this at home, allow three days for curing, and plan on turning the fish at least  once a day, so the curing solution permeates evenly.

At IKEA,  the  fish is served with mixed  baby greens and garnished with lots of fresh lemon slices.


At my house I have it  on some dark pumpernickel bread with cream cheese, baby arugula, and capers.

And, in case you’re wondering about its safety… I have made this for the past eleven years (every time  I come across good salmon) and- well I’m still here 🙂

Then again, I used to eat tubs of butter as a kid and that didn’t alter my tummy, either.  The point is- methods of curing meat and fish have been around long before electricity and I have confidence in my ancestors recipes. Although I doubt I will ever  bury my gravlax  in the sand. Too gritty. Anyway…

After it’s cured, your salmon should look like this and have a firm texture:

(you’ll scrape off most of the dill and salt mixture)

This is what mine looked like before ↑

gravlax - homemade cured salmon


  • 1 2lb salmon filet, bones removed and cut into two pieces
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 bunch fresh dill chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • Equipment:
  • plastic wrap
  • two containers that nest into each other


  • In a bowl, combine the dill, salt, sugar and pepper.
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the outside of the salmon, massaging it into the flesh
  • Lay the fillets over a large piece of plastic wrap, and place in a casserole or other container
  • Sandwich the salmon pieces together, and pour the vodka over them.
  • Wrap tightly, if needed add an extra piece of wrap on top.
  • Place another dish on top of salmon, and weigh down with cans or a brick.
  • Place in the fridge.
  • After 12 hours, drain any liquid and turn filets.
  • Repeat process of turning and draining every day.
  • On the third day, unwrap fish and scrape off excess dill & salt with a butter knife.
  • Pat dry and re-wrap in fresh wrap. Portions may be frozen.
  • To serve, slice thinly and serve with a salad, on bread or toast or on top of crackers.



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1 Comment

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