• Servings : 6-12
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 0m
  • Ready In : 24:000 h

The recipe

Gravadlax or gravlax, depending on whether you are using a Norwegian or Swedish recipe, is a Scandinavian dish which basically cures salmon.  Originally it would have been buried in the soil, but these days the fridge will do.  The fish should be frozen first and when defrosted and prepared it will be ready in 24 hours.  Some recipes give longer times, but it depends on how salty you like your fish. Some recipes don’t use any alcohol, but I’ve prepared this with and without and I prefer it with the brandy.  You can’t actually taste the brandy, but the texture is slightly different, it’s a little firmer and drier, and just better somehow, it definitely seems to add something to the dish.  Try using vodka (more Scandinavian) or gin maybe (more fashionable just now). You could also apply this method to other oily fish such as mackerel. Serve with thinly sliced rye bread, dill mustard and ice cold vodka or acquavit.


  • 1 kg middle-cut fresh salmon, scaled, filleted into 2 sides and pin boned
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 30g coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns (slightly crush in a pestle and mortar)
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 30g fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • For the Dill Mustard Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50g dill, stalks removed, finely chopped


Step 1

Put one of the salmon fillets, skin side down, onto a large plate. Sprinkle the fish with the sugar, salt, peppercorns, brandy and dill. Place the other piece of salmon fillet on top, skin side up.

Step 2

Cover the plate with cling film to prevent the juices which will be extracted from the fish from slopping over into the fridge, and place another plate on top.Put into the fridge and weight down with anything handy which fits e.g. food cans.

Step 3

After 12 hours pour away the liquid and turn the fish over, replace the cling film and return to the fridge for another 12 hours. You can leave it for longer, but it will be saltier, so it just depends on personal preferences. I find 24 hours is sufficient. Once finished, scrape away the marinade. I usually sprinkle the flesh side of the fish fillets with a little dried or fresh dill, put the two fillets together and wrap in cling film and return to the fridge for an hour or so for the herbs to moisten, then it is ready to serve. This gives it a lovely finish on the edge when it is sliced.

Step 4

Slice with a sharp knife at an angle of about 45°, about 2-3 mm thick. Discard the skin after slicing. It will keep in the fridge if covered with cling film for up to a week. Serve with Dill Mustard Sauce

Step 5

To make the sauce mix the mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, oil and dill and blend.

Recipe Type: Ingredients:
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