Monday, December 28, 2009

Gravlax...A Delightful First Course for New Year's!

If you want a simple appetizer for New Year's or a simple light lunch year round, this is it!

Serves 8 – 10


2 tbsp. white peppercorns

1 tbsp. fennel seeds

1 tbsp. caraway seeds

2⁄3 cup kosher salt

1⁄3 cup sugar

2-lb. center-cut, skin-on salmon filet

1 cup dill sprigs, plus 1/3 cup chopped dill

1⁄4 cup aquavit (optional)

Mustard-Dill Sauce


1. In a small food processor, pulse peppercorns, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds until coarsely ground; combine with salt and sugar. Stretch plastic wrap over a plate; sprinkle with half the salt mixture. Place salmon filet on top, flesh side up. Cover with remaining salt mixture, dill sprigs, and aquavit.

2. Fold plastic wrap ends around salmon; wrap tightly with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate the fish on the plate for 48–72 hours, turning the package every 12 hours and using your fingers to redistribute the herb-and-spice-infused brine that accumulates as the salt pulls moisture from the salmon. The gravlax should be firm to the touch at the thickest part when fully cured.

3. Unwrap salmon, discarding the spices, dill, and brine. Rinse the filet under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large plate with the chopped dill. Firmly press the flesh side of the gravlax into the dill to coat it evenly.

4. Place gravlax skin side down on a board. With a long, narrow-bladed knife (use a granton slicer if you have one; the divots along the blade make for smoother, more uniform slices), slice gravlax against grain, on the diagonal, into thin pieces. Serve with mustard–dill sauce or on knäckebröd with minced onion. Refrigerate any remaining gravlax, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks.

Mustard Dill Sauce

2 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. heavy cream

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill

1. Whisk together dijon mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil until smooth.

2. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk heavy cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream and dill into the mustard sauce.


This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #112

1 comment:

  1. To steal liberally from Ben Franklin: "Salmon is evidence that God loves us".

    Tonight, to celebrate my first born's 18th Birthday, we will go to a local Teppanyaki joint that serves top notch sashimi/sushi. Salmon will figure as part of that.

    We love locally-produced lachs as an easy appetizer - with crackers, capers, minced red onion, cream cheese, and dry white wine.

    Your mustard-dill sauce would go well with that.

    I'll say, however, that the finest fish I've ever has was a fresh, succulent gravlax made by a french-trained chef friend of mine. Your recipe is most inspiring (and saved to a suitable textfile).



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