You can buy your lox, or you can make it, and it’s so much easier than you think. Salt, sugar, a few spices, dill, and the best piece of salmon you can find. I coat the salmon in turmeric, which gives it the loveliest golden edges. Slice thin, add bagels and cream cheese, and you’re all set.
One 2-pound skin-on, center-cut salmon fillet, preferably wild, pin bones removed, patted dry
¾ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
½ cup chopped fresh dill
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap, leaving a generous overhang on all sides. (If you have larger, restaurant-style plastic wrap, use it; if you don’t, layer standard-size plastic wrap so you’ll be able to tightly seal the salmon.) Pat salmon dry on both sides.
2. In a medium bowl, combine salt, sugar, fennel, and peppercorns. Sprinkle half the salt mixture on the plastic wrap, then sprinkle ¼ cup dill over the salt. Press salmon skin-side down into the mixture so that it adheres.
3. Sprinkle the top of the salmon with the turmeric, then sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup dill, followed by the rest of the salt mixture, on top of the salmon. Using your hands, spread the mixture evenly over the top and sides. Bring the plastic wrap up around the sides of the salmon and wrap it tightly, wrapping it in one more layer of plastic so that it is tightly sealed. Cover the salmon with another baking sheet, weigh it down with a few heavy cans (a barbell works well, too), and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.
4. Remove the salmon from the fridge and unwrap it, draining off any excess liquid and carefully scraping the salt mixture from the salmon. Thinly slice the salmon on the bias, cutting the slices away from the skin (the skin will get left behind) and serve with the cucumber salad, herring, rye bread, butter, and capers. The salmon will keep, sealed in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week.