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Shared by Alison Roman


Yield: 8 servings


Yield: 8 servings

Family Journey

Kyiv, UkraineNew JerseyLos Angeles
New York City

This recipe was shared by Alison Roman. Read more about her family in "Alison Roman’s Family Brunch: Gravlax + Matzo Brei" and try her recipe for matzo brew (fried matzo).

I’ve made a few tweaks to his original recipe, using Aleppo pepper for even more smokiness and grapefruit instead of lemon, because I love the floral notes and slightly adult bitterness it brings; and because I like things to taste more salty than sweet, I cut back on some of the brown sugar. How you serve this will ultimately come down to personal preference. Are you a Wasa cracker or bagel kind of person? Cream cheese or labne? Red onion or scallion? Lots to decide.

DO AHEAD: Gravlax can be kept for up to 1 week, refrigerated. Just make sure you wrap it super tightly before storing, changing out the plastic wrap between uses to keep moisture out.


  • ⅓ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit or lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound skin-on salmon fillet
  • 1 tablespoon extremely smoky Scotch whiskey, such as Laphroaig


  • Step 1

    Combine the salt, dill, brown sugar, grapefruit zest, and Aleppo pepper in a small bowl, rubbing with your hands to blend everything really well. The mixture should feel almost like wet sand.

  • Step 2

    Place the salmon on a cutting board and pour the Scotch on top, rubbing it all over; discard any that runs off. (Lots of rubbing in this recipe—get ready.) Rub the salt mixture over the salmon, packing it on pretty well, like you’re building a sand castle. Wrap the whole piece of salmon in plastic wrap a few times so it’s well sealed.

  • Step 3

    Using a fork, poke a few holes in the skin side of the salmon, just to pierce the plastic, not necessarily the salmon. Place the salmon, skin-side down, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place a large plate or another baking sheet on top of the salmon, and then put a few heavy cans or a large cast-iron skillet on top. The idea here is that you are pressing the cure into the salmon, and as that happens, some water will leach out (the holes you poked let out any excess moisture).

  • Step 4

    Place this in the refrigerator and let it sit for 3 to 5 days. Dad likes his a little more cured; I like mine a little fresher. Check it at 3 days and give it a taste; feel free to keep curing.

  • Step 5

    You can rub the cure off before slicing and serving, but I like to leave it on, because I’m into all that additional herby saltiness.

  • Step 6

    Whatever you’re serving it with (or on), slice your gravlax as thinly as possible. To do this, use a very sharp knife (preferably a slicing knife, but if you don’t own one, reach for the thinnest blade you have). Cut on a strong bias to create wider, thin sheets of salmon.

  • Step 7