How to make pastrami gravlax and impress your friends

Shannon Sarna

This story originally appeared on The Nosher.

Tell someone you made the gravlax at your next brunch and I promise they will be impressed. The truth is that gravlax is a surprisingly simple dish to make. (Here’s our video and recipe you can follow to make it). There is no actual cooking involved, but you will have to plan ahead because it takes at least 4 to 5 days to allow it to cure in your fridge.

But why stop at simple gravlax!? Curing fish, particularly salmon, can take on different flavors depending on what ingredients you include while curing. Beets, herbs, vodka, citrus can all be included to flavor gravlax. And so can pastrami spices.

Adding pastrami spice to gravlax does require one additional step, so make sure to read the recipe in its entirety before starting. (That’s great advice for any time you tackle a new dish!)

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You can serve pastrami gravlax at your next brunch with some good pumpernickel bagels, rye bread, cream cheese and wedges of fresh lemon.


1 pound salmon fillet (skin on is fine)

1/2 cup coarse kosher salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 bunch fresh parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice plus a few slices of lemon

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons molasses

2 teaspoons water

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds


1. Combine salt, sugar, pepper, paprika and lemon juice in a small bowl.

2. Place salmon on a large piece of plastic wrap and cover on all sides with the salt-sugar mixture. Add fresh cilantro, parsley and a few slices of fresh lemon. Wrap salmon tightly, put on a plate and place in the fridge for 3-5 days.

3. After 3-5 days, remove salmon from the fridge and rinse off the seasoning under cool water. Pat dry and place on a clean plate.

4. Combine molasses, water and spices in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

5. Glaze salmon with the molasses-spice mixture and place back in the fridge, uncovered, for 1 additional day.

6. Slice the salmon thinly using a sharp knife and serve. Serves 8-10.

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