Make Ahead

Salmon Gravlax

November 27, 2010
Author Notes

In our half-Danish home the holiday season is not complete without making gravlax. It's an ideal addition to a party menu, since it's remarkably easy to prepare - all you need is time. Once the salmon is cloaked in sugar, salt and herbs, it's left to cure in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The only requirement before serving is to remove the brine and slice the fish. This is my version of gravlax which has been tweaked over time. For extra flavor I add fennel fronds and powder to the dill marinade. The peppercorns and fennel seeds are woken up by toasting them before grinding for the rub. Then I like to keep it Nordic by sprinkling Akavit over the fish before it's exiled to the refrigerator to do its curing. - TasteFood —TasteFood

Test Kitchen Notes

We LOVE TasteFood’s salmon gravlax. It’s very simple to put together – the smell of the toasting spices is dizzyingly delicious, combined with the sugar and salt, herbs and Aquavit – I was tapping my foot as soon as it went in the fridge – but held out for the 2 day minimum requirement. We pulled it out, brushed off the brine and sliced into deliciousness. It’s slightly firm and just the right level of sweet and salty, but the best is the subtle anise flavor that comes through from the fennel and Aquavit … it will keep you going back for another slice again and again. Do make sure to get all of the visible brine off. HIGHLY recommended for Editor’s Pick, and we will be going back to this recipe often! —aargersi

  • Serves a party
  • For the salmon gravlax
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 10 ounces sea salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 side of salmon with skin, about 3 pounds, pin bones removed
  • 1 cup fresh dill sprigs, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh fennel fronds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Akavit (Danish cumin flavored shnapps)
  • For the Honey Dill Mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cognac
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe
  1. For the salmon gravlax
  2. Lightly toast peppercorns and fennel seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic, 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar with a pestle and finely grind. Mix pepper, fennel, salt and sugars together in a medium bowl. Rub fish all over with the spices.
  3. Line a long baking pan or rimmed platter with plastic wrap. Place half the dill sprigs and half the fennel fronds over plastic wrap. Arrange salmon, skin-side down on dill. Sprinkle Akavit over salmon. Top with remaining dill and fennel fronds.
  4. Cover with additional plastic wrap, sealing the fish. Place a heavy pan or tray on fish. Weigh down pan with cans or bottles. Refrigerate for 2-3 days.
  5. To serve, remove fish from refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap. Pour off collected juices and wipe off excess brine and dill. Slice diagonally from one corner of the salmon towards the center of the fillet.
  6. To serve, fold a slice of salmon on french bread or toasted brioche. Smear with a spoonful of Honey Dill Mustard and garnish with a dill sprig.
  1. For the Honey Dill Mustard
  2. Whisk mustard, vinegar and cognac together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil to emulsify. Stir in dill, pepper and salt.
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