Makes about 6 pounds, but the recipe can easily be halved or quartered to make a smaller amount.

  • 1     pound coarse salt
  • 1     pound packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2     tablespoons whole white peppercorns, cracked
  • 2     bunches fresh dill, roughly chopped
  •        Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2     tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½    tablespoons brandy
  • ¼    cup whiskey, preferably Jack Daniel's
  • 2     sides of salmon (3 pounds each), cleaned and skin on
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and dill to make the dry cure. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, brandy, and whiskey; stir.
  2. Lay salmon, skin-sides down, on a clean, dry surface. Brush liquid mixture generously over fish. Pack dry cure evenly over fillets; wrap tightly with two layers of plastic wrap.
  3. Place one piece of fish, skin-side down, in a pan large enough to accommodate the fish. Place the other piece of fish, skin-side up, on top of the first. Place a cutting board on top of the fish, and weigh down board with soup cans or bricks. Chill 24 hours.
  4. Remove weights, unwrap fish, and drain liquid. Wrap fish again tightly in two fresh layers of plastic, reversing position of top and bottom pieces. Place weights on top; return to refrigerator. Chill 24 hours more.
  5. Repeat step four.
  6. Unwrap the salmon, and scrape off the dry cure. Slice the salmon on the bias as thinly as possible, and serve. The gravlax can be stored, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Get a start on this during the weekend, for the fish takes a good three days to cure. I like to serve it thinly sliced, with a bowl of lemon-dill sour cream and thin toast triangles.