Salmon Gravlax

Salmon Gravlax

Gravlax is a popular Scandinavian dish. During the Middle Ages it was made by fishermen, who salted and lightly fermented the salmon by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line. This may be where it got its name, as 'grav' in several Scandinavian languages means grave, and 'lax' or 'laks' means salmon. Nowadays it's no longer buried, but cured, using salt, sugar and dill.

For how many? Serves 8


  • 1 side of marinated salmon, cured for 12 hours (see ingredients below)
  • 110g Dijon mustard
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, leaves picked and chopped finely
  • 200ml soured cream
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • chopped fresh chives
  • For the marinated salmon:
  • 1/2 a side of salmon
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 25g salt
  • 25g sugar
  • 5g freshly ground white pepper
  • For the potato pancakes (makes 26):
  • 80g potato purée (see method)
  • 80g plain flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 50ml full-fat milk
  • 60g low-fat yoghurt
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the marinated salmon: Remove any remaining bones from the salmon, using a pair of fish tweezers. Using a sharp knife, slice through the skin in three lines down the centre of the fish, being careful not to go too deep into the flesh.

Mix the chopped dill and lemon zest with the salt, sugar and pepper. Sprinkle half this mixture onto a tray, and lay the salmon, skin side down, on top. Now sprinkle the remaining mixture onto the flesh side of the salmon and rub in. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate for 12 hours.

For the Gravlu: Wash the marinade off your marinated salmon and pat dry. Place on a board, skin side down, and brush the flesh side with the Dijon mustard. Sprinkle over the chopped dill and pat down. Wrap in clingfilm and put into the fridge for 3 hours.

Potato pancakes: To make the potato purée, bake a jacket potato in the oven on a bed of salt until soft. Cut in half, scrape out the potato flesh and pass through a ricer or sieve.

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix to a batter, then gradually add the milk, whisking until smooth. Add the potato purée, yoghurt and a teaspoon of oil, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Take tablespoons of the mixture and drop them in the pan, leaving enough space between them to be able to turn them. (You will need to do this in batches.) When golden brown, flip them on to the other side and cook until golden brown on that side too. Remove to a tray and set aside and keep warm.

To serve: Put the soured cream into a bowl and add some chopped chives. Take the salmon out of the fridge, place it on a wooden board and slice thinly, using a sharp salmon knife. Take a warm pancake and top with a sliver of salmon, a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of soured cream and a sprinkling of chives.

Planning ahead

The salmon needs 12 hours to cure, and the gravlax requires a further 3 hours after that, so my advice is to cure the salmon overnight and then make it into gravlax the following morning.

Once made, the gravlax will keep for at least 5 days in the fridge.

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