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Gravadlax Swedish Cured Salmon

Introduction & method

Gravadlax - aka gravlax - is cured salmon. It's really easy to make and works out at a fraction of the cost of smoked salmon. Well worth giving it a go.

Gravadlax Swedish Cured Salmon Recipe

About the Salmon

You'll get food snobs insisting you use wild salmon that you caught yourself this morning. And that's fine, but if the salmon in your world comes from a supermarket, that works just as well. Possibly better in fact because there is a risk that your wild-caught salmon could be infected with a parasitic worm. The way to get rid of that is to freeze the salmon for a few days before using it. It's likely that your supermarket farmed salmon has been previously frozen, and this parasite is almost unknown in farmed salmon. The other point about the fish is the size of the cut. A whole side of salmon is best, but obviously quite pricey. When you slice your gravlax, you cut towards the tail. Fillets of salmon will be much smaller and it may be difficult to make the kind of sweeping cuts that are the hallmark of cured salmon.

Make the Marinade

Finely chop a small handful of dill and mix it with the sugar and salt, crushed black pepper and juniper berries.

Prep the Salmon

Check that there are no pin-bones in the salmon - if you do find any, remove them with tweezers. Drizzle the fillets with gin and rub it in.

Marinade the Salmon

Line a roasting tin or plate with plastic film. If you have two fillets, lay one skin side up on the film and cover it with one third of the cure mix. Turn the fillet over and apply another third to the flesh. Place the second fillet on top, skin side up. Apply the remaining cure mix, wrap tightly in the film and then wrap with a second layer of film. You ned to compress the fish while it is curing, so maybe place a plate or small tray on top and add something heavy - cans of beans, bags of flour, whatever. Place the whole lot in the fridge for at least 24 hours but 48 is better.

Slice it!

When the curing is done, unwrap the fish and scrape off the cure. Some liquid will have been released by the fish - you can discard this or use it in the sauce (mine didn't look great so I binned it). Coat the flesh side of the fillets with ground black pepper and finely chopped dill. Using a boning knife (long narrow flexible blade) at a very shallow angle, cut thin slices of gravlax - cut towards the tail end of the fish if you can. If the fish is not firm enough to slice, place it in the freezer for half an hour. You'll probably find you get better slices as you get closer to the skin.

Make the Sauce

It's more of a dressing or a dip than a sauce, but all you do is blitz together the ingredients - no cooking or anything! A stick blender is probably the best tool for this.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Gravadlax Swedish Cured Salmon on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 450 grams salmon, skin on
 30 grams sea salt
 30 grams light brown sugar
 half a tsp black peppercorns
 half a tsp juniper berries
 a small handful of fresh dill
 1-2 tbsp gin, vodka, aquavit, or schnappes
 a small handful of fresh dill
 2 tbsp dijon mustard
 2 tbsp cider vinegar
 2 tbsp honey
 2 tbsp sunflower oil

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 400 grams (just under a pound)
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Curing time: 2 days.
Total time: 2 days and 10 minutes.