Maple and Citrus Cured Salmon (Gravlax Recipe)

Maple and Citrus Cured Salmon (Gravlax Recipe)

Gravlax is the term for fish (generally salmon) that is cured with salt, sugar, dill and can include alcohol or other ingredients.  Like so many food-related subjects, there are purists and then people who are more liberal with their definitions.  I’ve always been pretty liberal…

This is super-easy to make and tastes awesome too.  My best advice is to buy the best piece of fish you can afford (both from a flavor and sustainable-basis).  You can use  the Oceanwise website to help find sustainable options.

Maple and Citrus Cured Salmon (Gravlax Recipe) Salmon Preserving Recipes Orange Lime Lemon January

This can be served on its own (it’s very easy to slice very thin, even without a fish knife as it’s very firm) or with many different breakfast ideas – served on a bagel with cream cheese or as part of a Benedict are favourite treatments for me.


  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 0.25 cups of maple syrup
  • Zest of 1-2 mandarin oranges
  • Zest of 1-2 limes
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 pound (approx) of Salmon

If you don’t have a rasp (and they are some of the best $12 a kitchen can spend), you have to remove the zest without the white and then chop as small as humanly possible.


  1. Mix the salt and Maple Syrup.
  2. Make sure small bones are removed from the fish (the store should have done this – tweezers will help otherwise).
  3. If there’s a really thin part of the fish (where the belly was), remove it – it’s great for brunch as a fast fry but will cure too fast, become overly salty and chewy.
  4. Lay a sheet of foil out.  Put enough salt-maple mixture to make a solid bed for the fish (the end-goal is to have the fish wrapped in it).
  5. Lay the fish skin-side down on the foil.
  6. Zest your citrus and distribute of the flesh of the fish.
  7. Pour the remaining salt mixture over top.
  8. Wrap with foil.  You’ll want to wrap it tight AND use at least two layers of foil – the salt will remove liquid from the fish and you don’t want t a leak.  Wrapping it tightly helps encourage contact with the salt.  Place in fridge for about 24 hours – covered with something heavy (I used an unopened milk jug for the first bit then used some jars with water in them).
  9. Pull from fridge and rinse fish under cold running water to remove the cure – don’t worry about getting all the citrus pieces off.
  10. Slice as thinly as possible (a sharp knife helps) and don’t eat the skin – it will be very tough and hard to eat but if you chop it up, dogs love it. Maple and Citrus Cured Salmon (Gravlax Recipe) Salmon Preserving Recipes Orange Lime Lemon January

If you’re looking for a different take on this, we also have a recipe for arctic char that’s cured with salt, maple, citrus and wild leek/ramp-infused vodka!

It’s really that simple and ready in 24 hours.  Don’t worry about being exact with the timing but 24 is a great minimum time and while it could sit up to 48 hours, I prefer pulling it out sooner than that.

If you’ve cured salmon before are you a purist or do you add other flavors with it?

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