Spruce Tips Gravlax Recipe
Homemade Gravlax or Lox is one of my FAVORITE things to make when the salmon season gets underway here in Alaska. I use my favorite recipe year after year, it’s a good one made with vodka, lemons, and dill, and it’s ALWAYS fabulous. This year I got into foraging and decided to try something a little more “out there” for most of you (and let’s be honest me too!), Spruce Tips Gravlax, or Lox as it’s commonly called.
If you’re not interested in using wild foraged spruce tips, but you still want a solid Gravlax recipe, I can’t recommend my original recipe enough. This recipe for Spruce Tips Gravlax, or my original, is the perfect gift for giving too. Plus you can never go wrong when you pull out a home-cured Salmon snack for your guests, be it smoked salmon, smoked salmon dip, or my lox recipe.
A quick note: this Spruce Tips Gravlax Recipe is a cold cured salmon that is not cooked and not cooked. If you can’t eat cold cured salmon, then this isn’t the recipe for you. Smoked salmon is what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a good lox recipe to serve with bagels and cream, then this recipe IS for you.
It’s SALMON SEASON
Yep, you heard it heard the salmon are running! The season starts here in Alaska with the Copper River Red Run which is always fabulously out of our price range. And getting our own first of the season COpper Rive Red isn’t likely to happen for us. Luckily you DON’T need a Copper River Red to make the Spruce Tip Gravlax, ANY good clean red or sockeye salmon will do. I like reds, they’re plentiful, we dipnet the hell out of them in the summer and if we’re not able to get out fishing or we get skunked they are affordable to purchase.
Spruce Tip Season
Yes, the spruce tips are still edible and plentiful. Even in my yard here in South Central. I think at higher elevations and farther north, the season is just getting started. I also found that on my property the north side of the trees still had small spruce tips that had yet to emerge, so there are spruce tips out there!
Spruce Tips Gravlax
- 1 Red Salmon cleaned, filleted, trimmed, pin bones removed
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup cracked peppercorns
- 1 cup spruce tips cleaned, picked over
- 2/3 cup vodka
- lay the salmon skin side down in a non-reactive pan
- mix the sugar, salt, and peppercorns together
- sprinkle the mix evenly over the salomn fillets
- pour the vodka over the salmon, slowly so it doesnt just wash off the salt and sugar mix
- lay the spruce tips over one of the fillets
- top with the other fillet, meat side down
- wrap the pan in plastic wrap and a layer of foil over that
- place it in the fridge and place a cutting board with a couple of heavey cans on top of it
- let it cure 2-3 days
- turn every 12 hours, wrap in fresh plastic wrap and foil
- after 48 hours slice a small piece off and taste it if it takes silky smooth and like lox then it's ready, if not keep turning for 24 more hours--3 days is probably the longest you want to cure this salmon for
- I cut each fillet in half and vacuum pack those and freeze them until we need a bit of fresh salmon, thaw before using
- to serve, use a sharp fillet knife and slice down through the salmon to the skin, turn the knife sideways, away from you and slice the salmon off the skin Always slice as thinly as possible
- you can slice a lemon and add it between the fillets if you like lemony flavors