This Scandinavian salmon dish may take a couple of days to prepare but is well worth the effort for a special occasion. The raw salmon flesh is cold cured with sugar, salt and fresh dill and the result is a delicate flavoured and soft textured flesh that slices easily. It’s traditionally served in wafer thin slices on buttered pumpernickel or rye bread with a sweet mustard sauce. Most fish counters will sell whole sides of salmon but if unavailable buy a small whole salmon and ask the fishmonger to clean and fillet it into two fillets.
- 700g side of salmon with skin on
- 2tbsp sea salt flakes
- 3tbsp caster sugar
- 4tbsp fresh chopped dill
- Mustard sauce, to serve
- Dill sprigs, to garnish
Halve the side of salmon widthways to make two even-sized pieces and place both skin side down on a chopping board. Remove any fine bones from the salmon flesh with a pair of tweezers.
Mix together the salt, sugar and dill. Spread in an even layer over one piece of the salmon, pressing it down firmly with your hands. Top with the second piece of salmon skin side up and press together gently.
Wrap the sandwiched salmon tightly in two layers of cling film and place in a shallow non-metallic dish. Place a plate or small chopping board on top and weight it down with cans.
Place in the fridge for 2 days. Every 12 hours unwrap and turn over the salmon, spooning over any juices that have collected in the dish. Re-wrap the salmon and weigh down again each time.
After 2 days, remove the salmon from the brine mixture. Place each piece of salmon, skin side down on a board and, using a thin-bladed knife, carve the salmon into wafer thin slices across the grain. Serve with mustard sauce and garnish with dill sprigs.
Top tip for making Gravlax
For a delicious mustard sauce to serve with the gravlax mix 2tbsp each Dijon mustard, caster sugar and fresh chopped dill with 1tbsp white wine vinegar and 4 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.