Swedish dill-cured salmon

Gravlax uses a salt-sugar mixture to cure the fish. The fish is flavored by dill and whatever else is handy. (I've used gin, Julia Child has used cognac).

I've gathered these versions of the recipe from several sources. From Ver Cokbok (the Swedish equivalent of Joy of Cooking or Mrs. Beeton.) From a brochure published by the Swedish Information Service. From a booklet written by Tore Wretman, who owned a major restaurant and has published several cookbooks of his own.

Gravlax is like barbeque!a process that you follow, but can vary considerably. Don't skimp on the salt. The proportion of salt to fish is important to preserve the fish. Here are several variations on a single basic recipe.


(Serves 3-4)












  1. Get a whole fish, clean it and remove the head. Split into two filets, removing the backbone but leave the skin on. Dry off the filets and remove all the little bones.
  2. Crush the peppers and seasonings in a mortar, add the salt and sugar. Mix well, and press the mixture into the filets.
  3. In a glass or ceramic dish, put some dill on the bottom, then one of the filets, skin side down, then more dill, then the other filet, skin side up. Put the thick side of one filet against the other's thin side. Cover with plastic wrap (NOT ALUMINUM FOIL) and put a cutting board or similar on top with some weight on it (e.g. a couple of beer cans).
  4. Put it in the refrigerator for a day or so. (Thin filets are ready in 1 day, thicker in 2 days.) Turn the filet over once or twice during this time. Pour off the brine, otherwise the fish will be too salty. The fish will keep for a week in a refrigerator after pouring off the brine.
  5. Make the sauce, "Maitre'd sauce". Mix together the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Add the oil drop by drop as if making a mayonnaise. Add the dill. Let the sauce sit for about 10 minutes.
  6. Cut off either thin (nearly horizontal) slices, or thick vertical slices, to taste. (Don't cut through the skin). Serve as an appetizer on thin slices of buttered rye bread (with a little lemon juice and some finely chopped dill), or as a main dish with boiled new potatoes and Maitre'd sauce.


You can broil or grill thick slices of gravlax. After you've eaten the salmon, you can also cut the skin in thin strips, sear them briefly on the skin side, and serve them as a garnish.


Difficulty: easy once the fish is prepared.
Time: 5 minutes preparation, several days aging.
Precision: measure the ingredients.


Martin Minow 
Digital Equipment Corporation, Maynard, Mass., USA 
Recipe last modified: 28 Oct 87

Original header

Path: decwrl!recipes
From: (Martin Minow)
Newsgroups: alt.gourmand
Subject: RECIPE: Gravad lax (gravlax)
Message-ID: <12450@decwrl.DEC.COM>
Date: 15 Apr 88 05:37:40 GMT
Sender: recipes@decwrl.DEC.COM
Distribution: alt
Organization: Digital Equipment Corp., Maynard, Mass., USA
Lines: 107

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