Watch Cooking Channel

Super Food Nerds: How to Make Gravlax


Welcome to Super Food Nerds, a  column written in alternating installments by Rupa (Food and Beverage Editor, Culinary Staff) and Jonathan (Research Librarian, same place). Each installment will be dedicated to a particular topic – how to DIY something you don’t normally DIY, how to perfect a dish usually taken for granted, plus best techniques, underlying chemistries and a handful of inexplicable preferences. Basically, if they can overthink it, they’re on it.

Cured fish is basically my favorite food. Smoked eel, pickled herring, kippered whitefish, weird dried squid snacks you eat in Russian saunas — I’m all about it. But it’s expensive, and I’m on a budget, so I wanted to see if I could make it myself.

There are a few ways to go about curing fish: brining and cold-smoking (at a temperature of about 100 degrees F), like most smoked salmon you see sold with bagels; brining and hot-smoking (so it’s flaky and rich, mostly done with trout); and gravlax, a dry salt cure, which gets you the silky texture of cold-smoke without the smoking part.

Gravlax is a traditional Scandinavian way of curing fish — it translates literally to “buried salmon,” since the fish used to be buried in the ground to cure. Now the fish gets buried in the dry salt-sugar cure, and since it’s the quickest, easiest way to get the fish from zero to my mouth, that’s the method I picked.

The traditional gravlax cure is a 1:1 ratio of salt to sugar, along with spices, herbs and a splash of liquor. (Salt does the curing. Sugar balances out the saltiness. Spices, herbs and liquor add flavor.) The traditional fish is salmon, but given the cost of wild salmon, and the absence of a sustainable salmon alternative, I thought I’d try with arctic char. Char is a thinner fish than salmon, so it cures faster and doesn’t need to be weighted while curing.

Fish in hand, I got to work. Salt and sugar were a given, but the rest of the seasoning was up for discussion. Since I love everything bagels, but can’t eat them, I thought everything-bagel seasoning (dried garlic, dried onion, poppy seeds and sesame seeds) would get me the best of all possible worlds: bagel flavor, no bagel necessary. (I also tried a tequila, chile and cilantro version, as well as a garam masala one, but everything bagel came out best.)

I piled the cures on, wrapped the fish well, put it on a rimmed sheet pan in the fridge and called it a day.

After 24 hours, I rinsed off the cure, patted the fish dry and started slicing.

(See the recipe for specific slicing instructions; the longer and sharper your knife, the better, and the thinner your slices, the better. In an ideal world, you should be able to read the newspaper through each slice.)

The onion and garlic come through the most, but the flavor is still pretty delicate — what you really get is rich, buttery, almost-concentrated fish.

Garnishing with extra poppy and sesame seeds gets you the whole everything-bagel experience, along with a little textural contrast.

But, when I sent the recipe to our test kitchen for cross-testing, everything went awry. After many, many rounds of testing, this is what we learned:

Char cures beautifully after 24 hours in the fridge. Salmon, which we also tried, can cure somewhat erratically depending on its thickness. We played around with weighting and flipping and still occasionally ended up with a demarcation line after which the salmon remained uncured — it was delicious, but not exactly right. So char it was, and char it continues to be; I’ve cured a whole fish per week since starting this project just to eat at home, and that shows no signs of slowing.

Get the Recipe: Everything Bagel Artic Char Gravlax

More Super Food Nerds

Tags:

Comments (1571)

  1. telefonsex handy posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]one of our visitors not long ago encouraged the following website[...]…

  2. 2jj399dd posted 07/14/2013

    The Ships’s Voyages…

    I feel engineering just makes it even worse. Now there is a channel to in no way treatment, now there will not be a opportunity for them to discover….

  3. Social Media Marketing Company posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]here are some hyperlinks to websites that we link to because we assume they are really worth visiting[...]…

  4. provari battery posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]check below, are some absolutely unrelated internet websites to ours, however, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  5. diet pills reviews posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]please go to the websites we follow, like this one particular, as it represents our picks in the web[...]…

  6. Social Media Companies posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]below you will come across the link to some sites that we believe you ought to visit[...]…

  7. telefonsex posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]below you’ll locate the link to some websites that we consider you need to visit[...]…

  8. telefonsex posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]Every the moment in a while we pick out blogs that we read. Listed below are the most current web sites that we opt for [...]…

  9. laser cellulite treatment posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some quite exciting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]…

  10. Social Media Marketing Company posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]please take a look at the web sites we comply with, including this one particular, because it represents our picks through the web[...]…

  11. Click Here posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]Sites of interest we have a link to[...]…

  12. telefon sex posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some really fascinating stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]…

  13. Title…

    [...]below you will locate the link to some internet sites that we assume you must visit[...]…

  14. poker games free posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]that will be the finish of this write-up. Here you’ll come across some websites that we feel you will appreciate, just click the hyperlinks over[...]…

  15. dating sites free for women posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]although web sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we really feel they’re actually really worth a go as a result of, so possess a look[...]…

  16. Robert Shumake posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some very exciting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]…

  17. seo orange county posted 07/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]we came across a cool web site that you simply may possibly enjoy. Take a appear should you want[...]…

  18. Title…

    [...]check below, are some entirely unrelated web sites to ours, on the other hand, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  19. Matthew Browndorf posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]always a huge fan of linking to bloggers that I love but do not get quite a bit of link like from[...]…

  20. Trista Seftick posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]The information mentioned in the post are a few of the very best offered [...]…

  21. Upfront Reputations Reviews posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]please stop by the websites we stick to, like this one, because it represents our picks through the web[...]…

  22. upfront reputations posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]The information and facts mentioned within the report are some of the most beneficial obtainable [...]…

  23. comprar melissa posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]check beneath, are some absolutely unrelated websites to ours, nevertheless, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  24. foc de artificii posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]Sites of interest we’ve a link to[...]…

  25. water ionizers posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]although web-sites we backlink to below are considerably not associated to ours, we feel they’re in fact worth a go as a result of, so possess a look[...]…

  26. Upfront Consultants Reviews posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]The information and facts talked about in the report are a number of the most effective obtainable [...]…

  27. view posters website posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]below you will obtain the link to some internet sites that we assume you must visit[...]…

  28. restroom pass posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]Here is a superb Blog You may Locate Interesting that we Encourage You[...]…

  29. Morton Fahey posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated data, nevertheless seriously really worth taking a appear, whoa did 1 learn about Mid East has got a lot more problerms at the same time [...]…

  30. matthew browndorf posted 07/15/2013

    Title…

    [...]the time to study or stop by the material or web-sites we’ve linked to below the[...]…

  31. Title…

    [...]just beneath, are various completely not associated sites to ours, having said that, they may be certainly really worth going over[...]…

  32. SEO Orange County posted 07/16/2013

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some pretty interesting stuff like this. If you are new to this site[...]…

  33. Buy Followers on Google posted 07/16/2013

    Title…

    [...]please check out the sites we stick to, including this one, because it represents our picks through the web[...]…

  34. real estate law posted 07/16/2013

    Title…

    [...]Here is a superb Blog You may Obtain Exciting that we Encourage You[...]…

  35. Title…

    [...]always a major fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but do not get lots of link like from[...]…

  36. free people finder posted 07/16/2013

    Title…

    [...]below you will uncover the link to some web-sites that we feel it is best to visit[...]…

  37. Orange County SEO posted 07/16/2013

    Title…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated internet websites to ours, however, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  38. online jobs posted 07/17/2013

    Title…

    [...]Here are several of the web pages we advocate for our visitors[...]…

  39. view posters website posted 07/17/2013

    Title…

    [...]very couple of web-sites that transpire to be detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly very well really worth checking out[...]…

  40. 腕時計 シチズン posted 07/17/2013

    腕時計 シチズン…

    Great new watch Book Disclose The Best Way To Dominate The watch Arena…

  41. who is leah remini posted 07/17/2013

    Title…

    [...]we came across a cool web site that you simply could get pleasure from. Take a appear for those who want[...]…

  42. guarda moveis posted 07/17/2013

    Title…

    [...]one of our visitors recently advised the following website[...]…

  43. va web design posted 07/17/2013

    Title…

    [...]one of our guests not long ago proposed the following website[...]…

  44. see posted 07/18/2013

    Title…

    [...]that will be the end of this post. Here you’ll locate some web sites that we consider you will appreciate, just click the hyperlinks over[...]…

  45. ジミー チュウ アクセサリー…

    Incredible formula for the men that you simply could learn more about straight away….

  46. Cheap Louis Vuitton Shoes posted 07/18/2013

    Cheap Louis Vuitton Shoes…

    –…

  47. herve leger dress cheap posted 07/18/2013

    herve leger dress cheap…

    –…

  48. garcinia cambogia posted 07/18/2013

    Title…

    [...]always a massive fan of linking to bloggers that I enjoy but really don’t get a lot of link like from[...]…

  49. louis vuitton en ligne posted 07/18/2013

    louis vuitton en ligne…

    How to Make Your Own Gravlax from Artic Char | Devour The Blog: Cooking Channel’s Recipe and Food Blog…

  50. visit site posted 07/18/2013

    Title…

    [...]please visit the sites we stick to, such as this one particular, because it represents our picks in the web[...]…

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c