Pastrami Gravlax Recipe

A simple cure and a robust spice rub give your homemade gravlax all the feels of the delicatessen classic.
November 9, 2020, 12:00pm
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Makes about 1 ½ pounds gravlax
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 days


for the cure:
2 cups|300 grams kosher salt 
1 cup|190 grams light brown sugar 
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander 
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 pounds|925 grams good quality skin-on center-cut salmon, pin bones removed 
¼ cup|60 ml fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons) 
2 shallots, thinly sliced

for the rub:
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, toasted 
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds, toasted 
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted  
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika 
3 tablespoons molasses


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the salt, brown sugar, black pepper, garlic powder, coriander, mustard powder, and paprika.
  2. Pat the salmon dry. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and shallots. Place the salmon in a shallow baking dish and rub the shallot mixture all over the salmon. Pour half of the dry rub on a piece of plastic wrap and place the salmon on top. Spread the remaining dry rub and any shallot that fell off on top of the salmon, covering it completely. Wrap the salmon tightly in plastic wrap and place it back in the baking dish, skin-side down. Weigh the salmon down with a plate topped with 2 or 3 cans and refrigerate for 36 hours.
  3. Unwrap the salmon and drain the liquid from the baking dish. Rinse off all of the dry rub, discard the shallots, and pat the salmon dry. Transfer the salmon to a clean baking dish.
  4. Place the peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle and crush, then stir in the paprika. (Alternatively, pulse in a food processor until roughly chopped.) Brush the molasses all over the skinless side of the salmon, then sprinkle over the spice rub in an even layer. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 12 hours.
  5. Using a long, sharp knife, cut the salmon from the top and crosswise into very thin slices, wiping the knife clean with a damp towel in between slices. The gravlax will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

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