Beetroot Cured Salmon (Gravlax)
Beetroot Cured Salmon (gravlax) is a stunning way to serve salmon on special occasions! This purple hued salmon is tasty and easy to make!
If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating cured salmon, it’s salmon that is cured using salt and sugar. My version has an assortment of spices and beetroot which gives it an earthy sweet flavor and a gorgeous purple hue.
This recipe is not only a gorgeous centerpiece on any table, it can be used in so many ways! My favorite way is on some toasted bread brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salty capers and sweet, finely chopped red onion. It’s very easy to make and only takes 10 minutes to prepare!
If you’re looking for more salmon recipes, try my Salmon Quiche a or my Garlic And Lemon Salmon Recipe a go!
Let’s talk about the salmon.
Selecting the right salmon for this recipe is key! Here are some things to know about using the right salmon:
- It’s important to use really high grade, quality salmon for this recipe. Fresh fish will be firm to the touch and won’t smell fishy, it’ll smell like the ocean.
- Buying from a fish market is ideal as you will be able to ask the fish monger for fresh salmon that is suitable for gravlax. Sushi grade salmon is perfect for this recipe, but as long as it’s fresh salmon, it will work just as well.
- You want to avoid using vac packed salmon that is old and not suitable for this recipe.
- Some frozen sushi grade salmon is suitable as long as you know for sure that it was flash frozen after being caught. Thaw completely before beginning the process.
- To be on the safe side, buy from a fish market where you can ask for the right salmon. You can use skin on or skin off salmon. Skin off salmon will be slightly more cure. Skin off salmon will be easier to slice.
Ingredients You Need To Make Beetroot Cured Salmon (Gravlax)
- Beetroot – if you can, buy beetroot on the stalk. It stays fresher for longer. I would recommend wearing food safe gloves when grating the beetroot to prevent your hands from turning purple. I would not recommend using canned beetroot.
- Peppercorns – white peppercorns are slightly spicier but have a more subtle flavor which makes it perfect for this recipe.
- Coriander Seeds – this is a spice that comes from the coriander plant and can be used in the spice section of your supermarket.
- Lemon – we just want the zest here. If your lemons look shiny at the supermarket, they’ve most likely been covered in wax. Give them a good wash under some running water before zesting.
- White sugar – I used regular white, granulated sugar for this recipe. Make sure you use granulated sugar and not superfine/caster sugar which will make this too salty.
- Rock salt – can be bought at most supermarkets and will be labelled rock salt. It’s important to make sure you use rock salt and not any other type of salt, especially regular table or fine salt which will make your salmon way too salty.
- Dill – I love the sweetness the dill gives the recipe. I use lots of dill because I like a strong flavor, but you can use less if you like or leave it out.
- Salmon – Use fresh salmon. It will smell like the ocean, be firm to the touch and is best sourced from a fish monger, not from your local supermarket which is often sold vac packed. I have more info on this after the intro in this blog post.
How to make Beetroot Cured Salmon.
- If using a middle piece of your salmon, slice off the side (fatty) flap.
- Feel for bones and use tweezers to take out
- Grate beetroot (use gloves)
- Add to a mixing bowl with all other ingredients (except fish) and mix until well combined.
- Lay out a large single piece of plastic wrap into a container slightly bigger than the fish. Add half the curing ingredients in it and spread around.
- Add salmon.
- Cover with remaining curing ingredients.
- Wrap tightly in plastic.
- Place heavy weights on top and chill in the fridge for 3 days.
- Once cured, unwrap.
- Wash under running water.
- Pat dry with paper towel.
- Slice thinly and serve
- Store in baking paper for up to 5 days.
Why it works: Science.
Technically, this fish recipe is raw. But the way it’s prepared, and the ingredients used is what makes it safe to eat in this way. In fact, this was originally how Nordic people would store fish for longer periods of time without access to a fridge.
A carefully balanced ratio of salt and sugar helps draw out the moisture from the fish which is where bacteria lives. What you’re left with is a deliciously sweet and salty fish which is oily, soft and tender.
How to serve your Cured Salmon!
First of all, get yourself a really sharp knife to help you thinly slice your salmon. It can take a bit of practice, but after a couple slices, you’ll get the hang of it! Once you’ve sliced your salmon, here are some ways you can serve it!
- On some toasted bread (pane di casa is my favorite) with olive oil, capers and finely chopped red onion.
- Serve on a platter with sliced cucumber ribbons, pickles and a side of freshly sliced bread.
- Sliced on pumpernickel bread with some horseradish mayo!
Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!
- Use fresh beetroot and get it on the stalk if you can!
- Use fresh salmon, ideally sushi grade salmon. I have more on the salmon above.
- When wrapping the prepared salmon, make sure there are no seams at the bottom otherwise moisture drawn out of the salmon will seep out.
- Make sure the salmon is in a container when resting in the fridge.
- To store Cured Salmon, wrap tightly in baking paper and place in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Make sure you weigh the salmon down as it cures in the fridge to help draw out as much moisture from the salmon.
Frequently Asked Questions about Beetroot Cured Salmon
What is Gravlax?
Gravlax is a Nordic dish. It is salmon that is cured using salt and sugar with the addition of other spices for flavor. This particular version is cured with beetroot which gives it a slight earthy sweetness and a gorgeous purple hue.
How do I store this?
To store Cured Salmon, wrap tightly in baking paper and place in the fridge for up to 5 days.
What’s the difference between smoked salmon and gravlax?
Although they’re quite similar in texture and flavor, smoked salmon is cured at a really low temperature with smoke which gives it a light smokey flavor. Other than that, both types of cured fish can be used in exactly the same ways!
Can you cook cured salmon?
Yep! It can be cooked gently in things like creamy pastas. Just keep in mind this is already high in salt so you may want to reduce the salt in your recipe.
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Beetroot Cured Salmon (Gravlax)
Beetroot Cured Salmon
- 14 oz (400 g) 400g fresh beetroot, grated (see notes)
- 2 tsp white peppercorn whole (see notes)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 cup (210 g) granulated sugar (see notes)
- 1 cup (270 g) rock salt (see notes)
- 1 cup about 1 bunch fresh dill roughly chopped
- 2.2 lbs (1 kg) salmon fillet, skin off or on (see notes)
- Toasted bread
- Cream cheese
- Red onion thinly sliced
- cucumbers ribboned
- Crackers of choice
- Extra dill to sprinkle chopped
- Pumpernickel bread
Beetroot Cured Salmon
- Begin by adding the grated beetroot, crushed peppercorns, coriander seeds, dill seeds, lemon zest, white sugar and rock salt to a large bowl. Use a metal spoon to mix.
- Line a baking dish with two layers of plastic wrap with lots of overhand on the sides. Add the 1/2 of the beetroot mixture on top and spread around. Place the salmon skin side up (if using skin). Add the remaining beetroot mixture and spread evenly over the salmon, covering it completely. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap overhang. Place something flat and heavy on top and then place some canned food cans on top to weigh it all down. This will help the sugar and salt do its job by drawing out moisture from the salmon. Cure for 2-3 days in the fridge.
- Once cured, unwrap the salmon and run under a tap with cold water to wash away the beetroot mixture. Pat dry with paper towels. Use a very sharp knife to slice in thin ribbons.
- Serving suggestion - lightly toast some slices of baguette, spread some softened cream cheese, add some cucumber ribbons, cured salmon, capers, red onion and dill.
I’m so excited for you guys to try this gravlax recipe! It’s so darn tasty!