Gravlax (salmon)

A healthier replacement for ham and bacon

Salmon’s way better for you than pork, and salty, fatty gravlax made from salmon is still way better for you than salty, fatty ham or bacon. But in many ways they serve the same function – in Eggs Benedict, for example, I usually replace the traditional ham with lox. Plus, of course, you can’t beat lox and cream cheese on bagels. Lox is expensive, though, and you can’t always get it everywhere – here’s how to make your own.

How to make Gravlax:

Get about a pound of salmon fillet. Put it, skin side down, on a large piece of plastic wrap (I hardly ever use plastic wrap, but this is an exception). Pull out any bones you can feel or see. In a small mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup of kosher salt, one cup of sugar, and a chopped bunch of dill. Pour this mixture over the salmon and wrap the plastic wrap tightly around the whole thing.

Now leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. When the time is up, unwrap the salmon and rinse off all the salt and sugar and dill in the sink. Slice the gravlax on the bias, across the grain of the salmon.

But will gravlax keep?

The whole purpose of salting fish is to make it keep longer. Even so, I wouldn’t trust gravlax longer than a week or so.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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