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Gravad lax

Gravad lax or dill-cured salmon is always featured on the Swedish smorgasbord, but to experience its fine flavour to the full, enjoy a few thin slices of gravlax unaccompanied by other dishes. It is perfect as a starter as well.

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Per-Erik Berglund/imagebank.sweden.se

Delicate dill-cured salmon

Gravad lax or dill-cured salmon should preferably be served with a mustard sauce, which is French in origin. This marinated salmon dish, along with marinated herring, used to awaken suspicion among tourists. Eat raw fish? Can that be good for you? Nowadays dill-cured salmon is a popular delicacy in the English-speaking world too, and English has simply adopted the short version of its name, gravlax, along with the dill-fragrant, sugar- and salt-marinated fish itself.

Ingredients

(6 servings)
750 g (26 oz) fresh salmon filet with skin on
85 g (3 ¼ oz) sugar
120 g (4 oz) salt
8 tbs chopped dill
1 tsp crushed white pepper

Sauce:
2 tbs mild Swedish mustard
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs sugar
1½ tbs red wine vinegar
salt, white pepper
200 ml (1 cup) oil (not olive oil)
chopped dill

Preparation

To minimise the risk connected with eating raw fish, you might want to freeze the salmon before preparing it. When defrosted, scale the salmon and remove the small bones, but leave the skin on. Make a few cuts in the skin so the marinade will penetrate from below. Mix salt, sugar and pepper and sprinkle it beneath and on top of the salmon filet along with plenty of dill. Place a weighted cutting board on top of the salmon filet and let it marinate at room temperature for 2–4 hours. Then refrigerate for 24−48 hours, turning the salmon filet a few times. Rinse the salmon in cold water. Cut into thin slices without getting too close to the skin, so the dark salmon is included.

Gravlax sauce is served alongside the dill-cured salmon. Mix the mustard, sugar and vinegar and season with salt and fresh-ground pepper. Stir vigorously, while pouring on the oil in a steady, thin stream. When the sauce has attained a mayonnaise-like consistency, stir in the chopped dill.

Last updated: 25 March 2014

Carl Jan Granqvist & Lena Katarina Swanberg

Innkeeper Emeritus Carl Jan Granqvist selected the dishes. Journalist and author Lena Katarina Swanberg wrote the texts. Translation: Victor Kayfetz.