You've procured the salmon, dill, and other accoutrements, but rather than bake or grill the salmon, how about curing a batch of gravlax at home ? While a relatively simple process, home curing — and, for that matter, slicing cured salmon — is a culinary adventure many aren't yet acquainted with, so we've broken it down visually to make matters more clear. Follow along with our step-by-step guide to preparing gravlax at home.
Remove the Pin Bones
Inspect the salmon both visually and with your fingertips to find any pin bones — small, flexible bones that are sometimes overlooked by the fishmonger — and remove them with a pair of (clean) tweezers.
Set Up the Curing Process
Spread about half of the curing mixture on the bottom of the dish that will house the salmon while it cures. Nestle the salmon on top, skin-side down.
Top Off With Dill Fronds
Top the salmon with the rest of the curing mixture and the remaining dill fronds.
For firmer gravlax, loosely cover the dill-topped salmon with plastic wrap, top it off with another equal-size (or smaller) baking dish, and weigh it all down with canned goods, pie weights, or loose change.
Let the Salmon Cure
Let the salmon cure (refrigerated) for at least three days, flipping the salmon and basting it with the juices that have collected roughly every 12 hours. The flesh will be firmer, darker, and more intensely colored (like pictured) when it's ready to be sliced and served.
Slice the Gravlax
Rinse the gravlax to remove the curing mixture, pat it dry, and set it on a cutting board. Split the fillet in half along the center indent to make it easier to work with. For each half, start slicing the gravlax on a bias by slicing off a small chunk at an angle. Then, slice it as thinly as you can manage at that angle through the remainder of the fillet.
Serve It Up!
Admire your handiwork — not many can say that they've home-cured fish. Serve the slices with crème fraiche and nutty crackers ; with bagels, cream cheese, capers, and tomato; on top of a green salad ; or however best pleases your palate.