The famous northern appetizer is as simple as it is delicious! Just need to plan ahead, because it takes a minimum of 24 hours to marinate. I usually do it in 48 hours, changing the side of the fish midway. The best part for it would be the less fatty part of the salmon, but in my case I got a fat part to test it and the result is simply that the salt doesn’t have time to travel through fast enough, so the texture is slightly softer. In both case though, it’s still delicious.

Gravlax is a simple dry marinade of equal parts salt and sugar with an extra dill, nothing more… There are many recipes out there, some add gin, lemon zest etc… The dish was made by fisherman from the Middle age, in the northern part of Europe. They used to salt the salmon they’ve freshly caught, and then ditch them in the sand hole, by the sea, to preserve it. Nowadays, we simply brine the salmon.

Gravlax salad

This is the recipe that made me fall for salmon, especially with that sweet mustard dill sauce… it’s simply a fresh bite this appetizer… and comes usually served with a rye bread. Another good idea, less conventional though… is to add the gravlax to a spinach salad, with a more “liquid version” of the sweet mustard dill sauce as dressing; it’s fantastic! There is no better way to start a meal!

Here is the recipe of this famous gravlax!


Makes 4 portions

  • 350g salmon (can be 2 times 175g)
  • 300g white sugar
  • 300g salt
  • 4 tbsp dill (dry) *more if fresh
  • a little pepper
Sweet mustard and dill sauce
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard (if possible: white wine dijon one)
  • 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (If you intend to do a salad dressing with it, add 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or cider, white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of dry dill
  1. Wash you salmon and check if there is bones left, pat dry
  2. In a bowl, add the salt, sugar, dill and pepper, mix
  3. Add the salmon, skin side down, to a deep enough bowl, add the dry marinade
  4. Rub it on the salmon, then make sure half is on top of the fish.
  5. Wrap the whole plate up, many times, with plastic wrap
  6. GravlaxLeave in the fridge for 48 hours, with pressure on it, like a pickle jar, and switch side after the first 24 hours.
  7. When ready, take the salmon out of the not so dry anymore marinade, rinse it quickly then pat dry
  8. Add the salmon, skin down, on a cutting board, and with a sharp knife, take the skin off
  9. Cut into small, thin slices
  10. Reserve your leftovers of salmon in the same marinade, to use for the next day
Sweet mustard and dill sauce
  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl, mix it up
  2. Pour over or next to the salmon (if it’s a salad dressing, then add olive oil to the mix and double the quantities of the sauce)

Enjoy with a nice piece of rye bread, or thin cracker!

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