Gravadlax (or gravlax) is Scandinavian method of pickling fresh salmon, and a lovely recipe for a party. Serve it with thin slices of dark rye bread. You will find it easier to slice if it has been frozen for about 4 hours beforehand. Gravadlax is usually served as an appetizer, sliced thinly and accompanied by hovmästarsås (literally steward sauce, also known as gravlaxsås), a dill and mustard sauce, either on bread of some kind, or with boiled potatoes. During the Middle Ages, gravadlax was made by fishermen, who salted the salmon and lightly fermented it by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line.

Ingredients: (serves 16)

2.25 kg whole fresh salmon, boned and cut into 2 fillets

dill sprigs and lemon segments to garnish

Pickling mixture

75 g granulated sugar

4 tbsp coarse sea salt

4 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Mustard dill sauce

3 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 egg yolk

150 ml sunflower oil

salt and ground black pepper

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

gravadlax of salmon


Make the pickling mixture: put the granulated sugar, sea salt and chopped dill into a small bowl, season generously with black pepper, and stir to mix.

Sandwich together the salmon fillets in the way that you put 1 salmon fillet skin-side down on a board, cover the surface with the pickling mixture, and place the second fillet on top, skin-side up.

Wrap the fillets in a double thickness of foil and place in a large dish. Weigh down with kitchen weights or heavy cans, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 – 3 days, turning the salmon over every day.

make the mustard dill sauce: in a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and egg yolk. Then whisk in the oil a little at the time. The sauce should have the consistency of mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the chopped dill.

Unwrap the gravadlax. A lot of sticky, salty liquid will drain drom the fish when it has been pickled: this is quite normal. remove the fish from the pickling liquid, and dry well. Separate the two salmon fillets.

To serve, slice each fillet on the slant, cutting the flesh away from the skin. The slices should be a little thicker than the smoked salmon and each one should have a fringe of dill sprigs and lemon segments, and serve with the mustard dill sauce.