Pastrami-Spiced Gravlax


The Good News Nicki Reiss cures salmon to create a stand-in for pastrami that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The salmon is deliciously savory, but it's also slightly sweet from the raw sugar in the cure and the molasses in the glaze. More Recipes With Salmon

Pastrami-Spiced Gravlax
Photo: © Ellie Miller
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins



  • 1 1/2 pounds center-cut salmon fillet with skin

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar, such as turbinado or demerara

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves and stems

  • 2 shallots, minced

Pastrami Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 2 bay leaves, torn into large pieces

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Rub the salmon fillet all over with the lemon juice. Place the fillet skin side down in a glass dish. In a small bowl, combine the salt, raw sugar, cracked black pepper, cilantro, parsley and shallots and rub the seasonings all over the salmon. Cover the salmon loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine the molasses, bay leaves and cayenne and bring to a simmer. Let cool to room temperature.

  3. In a small skillet, lightly toast the caraway and coriander seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and let cool completely. Crush the seeds as finely as possible with a pestle. Stir in the paprika and ground pepper.

  4. Gently scrape the seasonings off the gravlax. Set the gravlax on a plate, skin side down. Brush the gravlax with the molasses; pick off the bay leaves. Sprinkle the ground spices evenly over the fillet. Refrigerate the gravlax uncovered for at least 12 hours or overnight.

  5. Using a long, sharp knife, cut the gravlax crosswise into very thin slices. Arrange the slices on plates and serve.

Make Ahead

The pastrami-cured gravlax can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week.


One Serving 362 cal, 19 gm total fat, 3.7 gm saturated fat, 11 gm carb, 0.5 gm fiber.

Serve With

Toasted brown or black bread and moutarde violette (grainy mustard with grape must) or Dijon mustard.

Suggested Pairing

Smoked salmon and sparkling wine are a classic pairing, but this flavorful cure and sweet glaze demand something richer. Open a sparkling rosé, particularly one made with a fair amount of Pinot Noir.

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