Making your own salmon gravlax at home takes time but is actually quite simple to make. The actual preparation time will take you less than 30 minutes but the full cure will take two days, so if you plan on serving this for an event, get started early! The deep pink hue the beet imparts on the fish makes a strikingly beautiful presentation. When you’re ready to serve, slice the gravlax as thinly as you can at an angle and arrange the slices in loose ribbons or roll up into rosettes. Serve with whipped cream cheese or sour cream and a nice dark rye or other brown bread.
Homemade Beet Gravlax
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
For the beet cure:
2 large red beets, peeled and quartered
The zest of one orange
The zest of two lemons
6 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons demerera sugar
2 ounces gin
1 3/4 pounds skin-on salmon (about 800 grams)
For the herb cure:
1 small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh tarragon
4 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
2 ounces gin
You’re going to do two stages of cures in this recipe: first with the beets, citrus, salt, sugar and gin, then a final cure with the fresh herbs, horseradish and more gin.
For the beet cure, toss the quartered beets, orange zest and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse to a fairly smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the salt, sugar, and gin and stir until combined.
Lay the salmon skin-side down on a large sheet pan and slowly pour over the beet cure. Use a spatula to spread it uniformly over the salmon, making sure it is completely covered. Then, wrap the salmon in a double layer of waxed paper, then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap (with the folds on top to prevent the beet juice from leaking) and place in the refrigerator on a clean sheet pan for 24 hours.
The next day, remove the salmon from the refrigerator, carefully unwrap it, and gently rinse off the beet cure with cold water. The salmon will now be a gorgeous vibrant pink! Place the salmon on clean paper towels and pat dry.
For the second cure, mix together the chopped herbs, grated horseradish, and gin. Place the salmon skin-side down back onto a clean sheet pan and, with your hands, pack the herb cure onto the salmon. Make sure you cover all the flesh as you don’t want any air getting to it. Wrap it again with a double layer of waxed paper, then a tight layer of plastic wrap. Put the salmon back in the refrigerator for another 24 hours.
The next day the salmon will be cured and ready for eating! There’s no need to rinse off the final cure, simply slice the salmon as finely as possible at an angle so you get beautifully thin slices of pink gravalax with a fringe of herbs.