Why not make your own home-cured fish? It’s easier than you think and the flavor/freshness difference from what you buy is worth the effort.

Gravlax is fresh salmon cured with a combination of salt and sugar. It’s easy to make, you can control the amount and type of curing ingredients – like fresh herbs! Use it in recipes that call for smoked salmon, within a few days (unless frozen after prepared). 


  • 2 lb sashimi-grade salmon, bones removed and skin on 
  • ½ lb rock salt 
  • ½ lb granulated sugar 
  • 1 Tbsp white peppercorns 
  • 1 ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, divided 


Roughly grind white peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Combine with 1 cup dill, sugar and salt. 

Place two large, slightly overlapping, pieces plastic wrap on work surface. Spread half of curing mixture in the shape of the salmon. 

Place salmon on salt, skin side down. Top with remaining curing mixture and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in a large baking dish (like a Pyrex casserole) and top with a small cutting board and 3-4 14-oz cans of beans, etc., as weight.  

Refrigerate 12 hours. Turn salmon over, it will be wet from liquid that’s come out. Replace weights and return to fridge. Repeat this process two more times, for 36 hours total curing time. 

Unwrap salmon, scrape off salt. Rinse and past dry. Return to fridge, uncovered, for 4-10 hours. This will allow salmon to dry and salt to permeate flesh more evenly. 

Sprinkle ¼ cup dill over flesh side of salmon, for garnish and flavor. Slice thinly at an angle, not cutting through skin. Serve with toasted bread and lemon wedges.