Homemade gravlax sounds like it would require an extravagant time commitment and specialty tools and ingredients, but in fact it’s a supereasy and fun project that is a natural choice for making ahead. For gravlax that was evenly moist, tender, and consistently salted, we soaked the fish in brandy, coated it in brown sugar, salt, and dill, and then pressed and refrigerated it. The salt drew liquid from the fish and cured it, while the brown sugar countered the harshness of the salt and added deep flavor. The brandy helped the rub adhere and added flavor. We basted the fish just once a day to keep it moist. Once it was finished, all we had to do was slice the salmon as thin as possible. This homemade gravlax has to cure for three days. It is ready when the fish is no longer translucent and its flesh is firm, with no give.
- Yield: 8 to 10 Servings
- Total Time: 25 Minutes
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 1 (1-pound) skin-on salmon fillet
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
- Combine sugar and salt. Place salmon, skin side down, in 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Drizzle with brandy, making sure to cover entire surface. Rub salmon evenly with sugar mixture, pressing firmly on mixture to adhere. Cover with dill, pressing firmly to adhere.
- Cover salmon loosely with plastic wrap, top with square baking dish, and weight down with several large, heavy cans. Refrigerate until salmon feels firm, about 3 days, basting salmon with liquid released into baking dish once a day.
- Scrape dill off salmon. Remove fillet from dish and pat dry with paper towels. Slice salmon crosswise on bias into very thin pieces and serve.