What Is Gravlax And What Does It Taste Like?

More than just a valid, 18-point Scrabble word, gravlax (also called gravadlax) is a Scandinavian dish you can easily add to your cooking repertoire. The word's origins date back to a time when Swedish fisherman would salt their catch and bury it near the shore to ferment it. It combines the terms "grav," which refers to a grave or hole in the ground in Scandinavian languages, and "lax," meaning salmon (via Food Republic). Talk about a buried treasure!

According to RecipeTin Eats, gravlax is simply salmon that's been cured with salt and sugar. If you're already a fan of salmon, then you're in for a treat with gravlax. Its flavor lies somewhere between the taste of raw salmon as in sashimi and smoked salmon — minus the smokey flavor, plus herbs and salt. Making gravlax calls for a lot of waiting (36 to 48 hours), but not a lot of ingredients, just dill, white peppercorns, salt, sugar, and, of course, salmon. If you can hold out until your guests arrive, it can be served on toast with a mustard cream sauce for an impressive party appetizer.

Different types of salmon you can get on your bagel

For the uninitiated, the New York deli can be daunting. The lines can be long, the options are overwhelming, and decisions are being forced at a breakneck speed. Like any tactical operation, it's best to go in armed with as much knowledge as possible. Knowing the key differences between salmon types is one surefire defense against stressin' in the delicatessen.

"Smoked salmon" is an umbrella term that is often used to describe a number of salmon offerings including lox, cold- and hot-smoked salmon, Nova lox, and gravlax, according to HuffPost. Actually, the first one, lox, isn't really smoked at all, rather it's a piece of the salmon belly that is salt-cured for several weeks. (Be sure to order "lox and a schmear" on your bagel if you want your lox with cream cheese.)

Cold-smoked salmon has also been cured in salt and additionally flavored (but not cooked) with smoke, while hot-smoked salmon, on the other hand, is cooked with—you guessed it—hot smoke. Nova lox, or Nova for short, is another term for cold-smoked salmon and is a remnant of a time when New York got most of its salmon from Nova Scotia. The last one, gravlax, as you now know, is the Scandinavian preparation of not smoking, but curing the salmon with salt, sugar, and dill.