Combine everything in a non-reactive pot and bring to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let cool at room temperature for an hour and then refrigerate until well chilled.
Soak thick salmon steaks or fillets in the cold brine in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Soak thinner fillets or escalopes for only 1 hour or they’ll end up too salty. Drain and pat dry before grilling, sautéing, or hot smoking. Salmon that has been soaked in brine doesn’t need any salt. The flesh will also stay more moist—even if you overcook it
Because gravlox and cold-smoked salmon are never cooked, you have to cure them more than salmon you’re going to grill, sauté, or hot-smoke. Instead of using brine, dry-curing involves coating salmon fillets with varying amounts of coarse salt and sugar for different lengths of time. Gravlox—Scandinavian-style cured salmon—is also cured with dill, but chefs today often replace it with another herb, such as tarragon (see also Cold-Smoked Salmon).
© 2001 James Peterson. All rights reserved.