How to Make Pastrami Gravlax

Photo by Shannon Sarna via JTA.
Serve pastrami gravlax at your next brunch with some good pumpernickel bagels, rye bread, cream cheese and wedges of fresh lemon. (Shannon Sarna)

Tell someone you made the gravlax at your next brunch (whenever that might be) and I promise they will be impressed. The truth is that gravlax is a surprisingly simple dish to make. There is no actual cooking involved, but you will have to plan ahead because it takes at least four to five 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, and citrus can all be included to flavor gravlax. 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!)

Serves 8 – 10


  • 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
  • 2 – 3 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

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

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 three to five days.

After three to five days, remove salmon from the fridge and rinse off the seasoning under cool water. Pat dry and place on a clean plate.

Combine molasses, water, and spices in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Glaze salmon with the molasses-spice mixture and place back in the fridge, uncovered, for one additional day.

Slice the salmon thinly using a sharp knife and serve.

-By Shannon Sarna | The Nosher via JTA

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