How to make your own, home-cured salmon lox, using salt, vodka and herbs and spices. Use the homemade lox on appetizers, bagels, in sushi or on salads.
Have you ever made lox at home? It’s SO easy! This simple recipe for Homemade Lox with rosemary, juniper berries (optional), vodka and lemon zest requires only a few minutes of prep, and then watch as nature takes its course. The resulting lox, after 36 hours of curing, is the perfect addition to your holiday gatherings.
Use the homemade lox on appetizers, bagels, in sushi rolls or on salads. You’ll love the flavor!
I have always wanted to cure fish with vodka and lo and behold, last week I had the perfect opportunity to make lox at home!
Those of you who are familiar with lox, will probably already know that it is “cured” rather than cooked or smoked. It is actually a very simple, fun process that easy to make at home, quite economically, with very little hands-on time.
This time around I used crushed juniper berries, peppercorns and rosemary for a wintry twist, though in Spring I would veer towards fresh dill or tarragon. Play around with this, make it your own and have fun!
This week I partnered with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a smaller company produced in Austin, Texas, in the state’s oldest legal distillery. Tito’s process is similar to those used to make fine single malt scotches, requiring a bit more skill and effort than conventional vodkas, and because of this, it has become my “go-to” vodka, both in catering and at home.
What is great about curing your own salmon, is when it is done it can be used in many other healthy dishes, if you start thinking beyond bagels and cream cheese.
To give you other ideas, use the homemade lox in these healthy sushi hand rolls, or this salad, wraps, pasta dishes or even in an omelette. Dress avocado toast with it, or add it to bibimbap. The possibilities are truly endless. Here it’s served as a holiday appetizer, Nordic style, with rye crostini, pickled fennel bulb, mustard seeds and creme fraiche.
To make the lox: Crush juniper berries and peppercorns. The juniper is optional, so if you can’t find it, don’t let this stop you, use more peppercorns.
Add chopped rosemary or any herb you like!
Add zest from one or two lemons.
Add salt, sugar and some Tito’s Handmade Vodka, just enough to moisten.
Stir it up and coat the salmon with it.
Wrap the salmon tightly in plastic wrap, and place on a sheet pan or in a baking dish.
Place another sheet pan or baking dish over top and press down. Weigh this down with cans.
Refrigerate for 24 -48 hours. Note that any longer than 48 hours, will produce lox that is very salty, so I’ve found the optimal time is 36 hours.
Rinse off the curing salt well, and pat dry. Then slice however you like.
For the bruschetta board, I pickled some fresh fennel bulb, although pickled red onions would be a fine substitute. In the slightly sweet pickling liquid, add mustard seeds, pink peppercorns and caraway seeds for a delicious twist. For the creamy cheese spread, try creme fraiche, labneh, sour cream or whipped cream cheese.
Homemade Lox with Vodka, Juniper, Lemon & Rosemary
How to make Homemade Lox using salt, vodka and herbs and spices. Use this to make appetizers, or add to salads, pastas or sushi.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 36 hours
- Total Time: 36 hours 15 mins
- Yield: 12-16 1x
- Category: Appetizer, How to
- Method: Cured
- Cuisine: Scandinavian
- 2 pound filet king salmon (center, thivk cut)
- 12 juniper berries (optional)
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ⅛ cup sugar
- zest from 2 large lemons
- ¼ cup chopped rosemary ( or other herb)
- ¼ cup Vodka
- Place salmon skin side down on a plastic lined sheet pan, and pat dry.
- Crush juniper berries and peppercorns (a course grind is fine)
- Place in a small bowl and add salt, sugar, lemon zest, chopped rosemary (or other herbs). Stir to combine. Add a scant ¼ cup of vodka, just enough to moisten the salt mixture.
- Stir and spread evenly over the salmon, pressing it down.
- Wrap up tightly in plastic wrap. Place salmon in a baking dish, and set another slightly smaller baking dish over top, pressing down firmly. Pile up a few cans to weigh it down and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. 36 hours seems to be ideal.
- Unwrap the salmon and gently rinse the salt cure off well, under cold, running water.
- Pat dry and slice diagonally into paper-thin slices to serve.
- The longer you cure it, the saltier it will be. I find that it is perfect at 36 hours, and no longer than 48 hours.
- The cured salmon keeps up to 5-6 days in the fridge and can be frozen. To freeze, wrap tightly with plastic wrap so no air is in contact (which will discolor it) then place in zip lock bag.
- Sometimes I’ll freeze in smaller portions. Thaw in the fridge for 24-36 hours.
- If you like a smoky flavor- try substituting smoked salt for some or all of the salt. Or add a little liquid smoke, ( ¼-½ teaspoon) added to the salt paste is fine too!
- Calories: 245
Keywords: How to cure salmon, how to make lox, homemade lox, lox recipe, how to cure lox,