Swede and Sour Kitchen

Written by a gal from NYC living in Sweden, this blog dabbles in Swedish food and culture!

Salt-Cured Salmon

Svensk sommarhus Swedish Summer house

It’s hard to believe that summer is still here. Sometimes it’s almost a little too warm. But I shouldn’t complain. I’ve been complaining for the past two rainy and windy summers!

Last weekend, we went to Linköping for a friend’s 30th birthday party at his mom’s summerhouse house. It’s about 250 miles (about 400 km) away in the countryside and so amazingly beautiful. They grilled and we then sat outside and ate good food in the warm summer heat. I haven’t been out much in the countryside here, but it was exactly as I imagined it to be when people talk about hanging out at a summer house in Sweden.  

Swedish Summer house

But before we left, I thought I’d cure some salmon, since it needs to hang out in the fridge for a few days. Salmon is my favorite fish, especially if it is raw. It’s is a huge part of Swedish cuisine and can be found at the dinner table year round in many different forms- for example, oven-baked salmon, smoked salmon, salt-cured salmon. And when it’s this warm out, it’s nice to eat something light and fresh, without having to cook or spend tons of time in the kitchen.

According to Wikipedia, salt-curing is an old method of preservation for meat or fish, so that it can be stored, as well as give saltiness and flavor to the foods that it is added to. Even sugar acts as a preservative and “flavor-er”, which is why it is often mixed in with the salt. I’ve seen cured salmon in the grocery store and had always thought that it was made in a special room in some sort of complicated manner, but apparently not. Anyone can do this at home. Wow wow wee waa!

Cured Salmon

In New York, I usually ate this kind of salmon with a bagel, but we’re not in Kansas anymore. Salt-cured salmon is eaten at breakfast, lunch, brunch, and/or dinner… often with creamed potatoes and dill (a recipe which I will post very SOON!) or with hard bread. I like it! However, I will admit that it feels a bit peculiar to pick up a piece of raw fish that didn’t come pre-packaged or from a Japanese restaurant, and to just stick it in my mouth. It skews on the animalistic side of carnivorism. And on the food safety end of things, I haven’t been sick in the stomach yet, so it must have all worked out ok!

Rimmad Lax

Salt-Cured Salmon

recipe from Johan Åkerbergs Husman

1 kg (about 2¼ pound) salmon fillet, fresh with skin
¾ dl (generous ½ cup) salt, preferably sea salt
¾ dl (generous ½ cup) sugar

1. Freeze the salmon for at least 48 hours and then defrost.

2. Mix the salt and sugar. Massage into the flesh of the fish. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. Then, wrap the salmon in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Flip the fish over and let stand for another 24 hours.

4. Take the salmon out and slice into thin slices.

Serve with bagels, crisp or hard bread.

8 comments on “Salt-Cured Salmon

  1. J /*sparklingly
    July 9, 2013

    Ooo, I’ve been very curious about curing/preserving/pickling lately, so I’m glad you posted this! Question for you: what does the freezing/defrosting step do?

    • Gypsee
      July 10, 2013


      The freezing kills all the bacteria in the fish, so that if you eat this raw, you won’t get sick.

      When I was pregnant, we would order sushi and the sushi chef would assure us that the salmon was frozen beforehand, rendering it safe for me (and fetus) to eat.

      Mmmm, I’m such a glutton for raw salmon!

      • J /*sparklingly
        July 10, 2013

        Oh of course, silly me, that makes perfect sense! So easy, must try this, am a glutton for raw fish (and meat!), too! Thanks, Gypsee!

  2. Pingback: Swedish Salmon Pudding | Swede and Sour Kitchen

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  4. Stu
    August 19, 2013

    1.) “Freezing does slow down the microbes that cause food to spoil, but it’s pretty much useless for killing dangerous bugs.

    “It actually does a pretty good job of preserving many of the pathogens and microbes that will cause problems later if thawed out,” says , an extension research specialist at the University of California, Davis, who studies food safety.” —


    2.) It seems that to kill parasites, the fish should be commercially frozen because many home freezers don’t get cold enough. — http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/UCM252393.pdf

    Salt and sugar help to control bacteria and parasites but to varying degrees. Great website and recipes, but wanted to clarify this for readers.

    • Gypsee
      August 19, 2013

      Wow. Thanks Stu for the clarification!

      While I was pregnant, I was always told that as long as I put salmon in the freezer before using it for sushi, it was safe to eat raw. Well, I’m glad that nothing harmful happened.

      Now I wonder what the freezing step is for!

  5. primerica pyramid
    March 8, 2014

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