Salmon Gravlax is a delicious appetizer, with origins in Scandinavia. I love making homemade Gravlax, and serving it on a bagel with cream cheese and thinly sliced red onions. This is my favorite way to eat bagels. More commonly it's served as an appetizer. Gravlax on dark rye bread is a delicious appetizer I love to make. For a keto version, enjoy the Gravlax on sliced cucumbers. You can cure any oily fish to make Gravlax. However Salmon is most commonly used, a large fillet of trout works well too.
Is Gravlax Raw?
Gravlax isn't raw, but it's not cooked either. It's cured salmon with salt, sugar, dill, and in this recipe, lots of grated beets. There are many different ways to cure meats. Some people use brining, smoking or drying. Gravlax is always cured with salt. Examples of cured meat are beef jerky, biltong or smoked salmon.
Lox vs Smoked Salmon vs Gravlax
There are several different ways to cure fresh salmon. But what are the differences? Lox is cured in a salty brine and is usually made from a fillet of a salmon's belly. Lox comes from the Yiddish work laks and can be easily found in grocery stores.
Smoked Salmon obviously uses smoke to cure. It can be made with hot smoke or cold smoke, but that changes the texture. Hot Smoked Salmon will be flaky, and Cold Smoked Salmon will be similar to Lox or Gravlax.
Gravlax is known as Gravadlax, and here in Australia as Gravalax. As mentioned before, it's traditionally cured with salt, sugar, dill and spices. This Beetroot Gravlax has extra flavor from the grated beets which pair perfectly with the dill, lots of dill. I add juniper berries and vodka to my Gravlax cure. The flavors of this Beet Gravlax remind me of a Shuba Salad with Salmon, which is popular dish in Russia.
How to Make Beetroot Gravlax
Always use fresh salmon. Don't use frozen salmon that's been thawed. Try to use sushi quality salmon if it's available. Never skimp on price on fresh seafood, always get the best you can afford.
I use a pestle and mortar to smash together the juniper berries with the black peppercorns. This gives a wonderful aroma and a subtle flavor to the gravlax. If you can't find juniper berries in the store, then you can use gin instead of vodka (which has juniper berries in it).
I mix together all the ingredients and cover the fresh salmon. I usually use a Kosher Salt, but in this recipe I used a Himalayan salt, just to keep with the pink theme. Some people wrap the salmon tightly in cling wrap. I place the beet covered salmon in a glass pan, cover it with cling wrap loosely, and place a heavy item over it. The heavy item helps move the moisture out of the salmon, helping the curing process. I used a brick that I wrapped in foil.
The raw salmon will firm up as it cures, usually over 2 or 3 days. Make sure you rinse off the salt from the Gravlax. You won't wash off the beautiful pink color as it's penetrated the salmon, along with the flavors. To serve your Beetroot and Dill Gravlax, slice it thinly against the grain. The salmon usually keeps 4-5 days in the fridge, if it lasts that long!
Beetroot Gravlax with dill, juniper berries and vodka is easier to make than you think. Everyone will be impressed with this Scandinavian appetizer. Also known as Beetroot Gravadlax, perfect showstopper for your next dinner party. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Salmon Gravlax with Beets
- 2 lbs/ 1kg boneless salmon fillet
- 2 beets grated
- 1 cup dill chopped
- 2 teaspoons juniper berries
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 cup kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup vodka
- In a pestle and mortar, smash the juniper berries and peppercorns until it resembles a coarse ground pepper.
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Wear gloves so your fingers aren't purple from the beets.
- Spread a small amount of the beet mixture in a glass pan. Place the salmon (skin side down) on the beets. Cover the salmon with the rest of the beet mix. Use less beets on the tail side and more beets on the thicker portions.
- Cover the beet covered salmon with cling wrap. Place a heavy object on top of the salmon, to weigh it down. (ie. a baking tray with cans on it, or anything with weight).
- Refrigerate the salmon for 2-3 days until the salmon cures and is firm. Scrape off the beet mixture off the cured salmon. Rinse off under water before wiping with paper towels.
- Slice the Salmon Gravlax thinly to serve. Should last 4 days in the fridge when tightly wrapped in cling wrap.