Recipe! Gravlax with Honeyed Homemade Ricotta

Jon did a demo at Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard on May 20th for members of their Hand Picked Wine Club. Here’s the recipe!

Gravlax is salmon that is coated with salt and sugar and pressed for a few days under refigeration to cure. It requires no further cooking. It is similar in taste and texture to traditional cold-smoked salmon you might find at deli counters. The homemade ricotta we serve with the gravlax beats anything you might find in the supermarket in terms of taste and texture  

This dish was a huge hit at the spring Winemaker’s Dinner at the Old Caledonian in cooperation with Edg-Clif. It’s a perfect dish for the warmer days we’ve been having lately– chilled, not too heavy, and perfect with a crisp white wine, like Edg-Clif’s Vignoles. Enjoy!

Cured salmon gravlax with honeyed ricotta and asparagus

Gravlax with honeyed ricotta and asparagus

Gravlax with Homemade Honeyed Ricotta

Chef Jon Emanuel

Old Caledonian B&B



  • For the Gravlax:
    • Skin-on side of salmon (preferably not pink or keta), trimmed, pin bones removed 
    • Kosher salt as needed (do not use iodized salt)
    • Granulated sugar as needed
    • Black pepper to taste
    • Dill, fresh or dry, to taste
    • Vodka, rum, gin, aquavit or whiskey as needed
    • Special equipment: two nesting pans, cheesecloth
  • For the Ricotta (makes about 2 cups):
    • 1/2 gal whole milk
    • 1 C heavy cream
    • 2 tsp salt
    • ¼ C lemon juice
    • Honey to taste
    • Chopped, fresh dill as needed
    • Special equipment: fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth, OR chinois strainer

Prepare the gravlax:

Combine equal parts by volume of the kosher salt and sugar, enough to coat both sides of the salmon with a generous layer of the salt/sugar mixture (usually around ½ – 1 cup each). Add pepper and dill to your liking.

Take an 18” section of cheesecloth and open all the layers. Lay the opened cheesecloth evenly over one of your nesting pans so that it is centered over the pan and spreading over the sides onto your work area. Place a layer of the salt/sugar mixture over the area of the cheesecloth where the salmon will be placed.

Place the salmon skin-side down on top of the salt/sugar layer and generously coat the top of the salmon with a layer of the salt/sugar mixture. Wrap the cheesecloth snugly, but not tightly, around the salmon and place it back in the pan over any salt/sugar that may have sprinkled out while wrapping.

Drizzle your choice of alcohol lightly over the top of the wrapped salmon until the top is lightly moistened. Place the other nesting pan over the salmon and weigh it down with about 5-8 lbs of weight (this may be cans from the cupboard, several quart sized mason jars filled with water, or even bricks wrapped in cellophane). Place in the refrigerator and forget about it for three days.

After three days, unwrap the salmon, rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove excess salt, pat dry, and slice thinly with a very sharp knife, releasing the slices of salmon from the skin as you go.


Prepare the ricotta:

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, cream, and salt. Bring to a boil, quickly add the lemon juice, and reduce to a low simmer.

Stir constantly until mixture curdles, about 1-2 minutes.

Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a chinois into a large pot. Take the whole thing—the pot, the strainer and its contents, and put it in the fridge for an hour.

Remove the cheese from the strainer and place desired amount in a bowl. Mix in honey and dill. Shape into quenelles and serve with the gravlax, perhaps over chilled vegetables like asparagus, sliced cucumbers, or sliced radishes.

The remainder of the ricotta will keep in the fridge for about five days. The whey may be discarded or used to make oatmeal, as a liquid base for baking bread, or added to smoothies.



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