What is Gravlax?
Gravlax is one of the easiest and oldest recipes from the North and also the most known worldwide. Gravlax is a salmon that has been cured in salt and sugar, and has been infused with the aromatic flavor of dill. Gravlax is often found with dill as an aromatic spice- whereas smoked salmon is commonly found without any form of herb.
Gravlax comes from the Scandinavian word “grav” which means “to dig”, which was a way to preserve and ferment the freshly caught salmon during the middle ages. Fishermen would rub the fish with salt and bury the fish under the sand on the beach. Today, there is not so much digging in the sand on beaches, but found more often in the comfort of our own homes.
Even though dill and aquavit is one of the most common and previous flavors for a Gravlax- that doesn’t mean you have to do this every time. Why not experiment a little? Beetroot cured salmon is one of many favorites- or what about this blackberry cured gravlax?
Other flavors that are commonly loved are fennel, horseradish, cilantro- or how about a christmas version with warming spices like star anise, cinnamon, cloves and ginger? You can literally use everything you want- but remember that the salt/sugar rub is neccessary to cure the salmon. The salt draws liquid out of the salmon, curing and and in a way “cooking” it.
Traditional Gravlax & Easy Mustard Sauce
Gravlax is an old tradition from the Nordic region – why not try and make your own? It’s super easy!
1 kg salmon filet, skin on
70 g sea salt
40 g sugar
3 tbsp dill, finely chopped
3 tbsp aquavit (optional)
1 egg yolk
1/2 decilitre dijon mustard
1/2 decilitre sweet mustard
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 decilitre sour cream
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
- Put the salmon filet in a suitable baking dish.
- Rub the salmon with salt, sugar and dill.
- Lightly sprinkle aquavit on top.
- Pack the fish filet in cling film, prefferably several times to make sure it’s sealed in.
- Put something heavy on top, like books, milk or anything else you have at hand. This is to make sure everything is absorbed into the fish filet.
- Let sit in the fridge for 3-4 days – turning it half way.
- Unwrap the salmon and remove the rub with a paper cloth (do not wash it off).
- Thinly slice the salmon and serve.
- Combine egg yolk, dijon mustard, sweet mustard, sugar and vinegar in a bowl. Stirr well.
- Add sour cream and finely chopped dill and blend everything together.
- Serve a dollop on each gravlax serving.
If you want to make a lot of gravlax, put one filet on top of the other to make two at once!
If you don’t have a hand mixer, you can make the mustard sauce by hand. Add all the ingredients in a bowl and stirr constantly as you add a small amount of oil.
Keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.