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Think of this as smoked salmon for those without smokers. This is a super simple way to cure salmon for brunches and parties.
Step 1: Start with wild Pacific salmon (there is no wild Atlantic salmon). We like to use our local California king salmon. Remove pin bones and remove the skin.
Step 2: Cure with sugar, salt and herbs and spices. One standard blend is for every pound of salmon, mix 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup salt, and add 1 tbs black pepper and crushed red pepper. You can use fresh herbs as well. I'm not a huge fan of dill with salmon, but many people use this. For gravlax, I use a little thyme. (For fresh salmon, I like basil. The bright flavors go together so well.)
Step 3: Wrap in Saran Wrap and place in a pan. You now want to add weight to it, so put other pans or thick, heavy books on top of it. You want about 5-10 pounds for it.
Step 4: Place in refridgerator for between 3-5 days.
Step 5: Remove from fridge, unwrap and scrape or rinse the cure off.
Step 6: Slice with the grain. Here it's served with creme fraiche, arugula, red onion and bagette.