There’s something fishy about Sweden. It’s called gravlax, central to the smorgasbord.

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.

Conversions and abbreviations

1 g = 1 gramme = 1/1,000 of a kg

1 kg = 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds (lb)

1 dl = 1 decilitre = 100 millilitres (ml) = 1/10 of a litre = 0.4 US cup

1 litre = 10 dl = 0.9 UK quart (qt) = 1.06 US liquid quart

1 fl oz, UK = 1 fluid ounce = 1/33 UK quart = 30 ml

1 fl oz, US = 1/32 US qt = 28 ml

1 lb = 16 oz = 450 ml

1 tsp = 1 teaspoon = 1/6 oz = 5 ml

1 tbsp = 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons = 1/2 oz = 15 ml

°C = degrees Celsius

°F = degrees Fahrenheit

For more online conversions:

Gravlax recipe


(6 servings)
750 g (26 oz) fresh salmon fillet with skin on
4 tbsp (2 oz) sugar
4 tbsp (2 oz) sea salt
100g (3,5 oz) chopped dill
2 tsp crushed white pepper


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


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 that might remain, 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 fillet along with plenty of dill. Place a weighted cutting board on top of the salmon fillet and let it marinate at room temperature for 2–4 hours. Then refrigerate for 24−48 hours, turning the salmon fillet a few times.

To serve, unwrap the fish and brush off the marinade. 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 freshly 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.