Here is a recipe for gravlax. Lax means ‘salmon’. Gravning is an ancient method of preservation resembling marinading. This is a Swedish delicacy which can be enjoyed on any festive occasion, although we eat it mostly during the summer months as it is eaten cold (we get enough of cold anyway in Sweden). Besides you can only have gravlax so often, due to financial considerations.

What to use:

    1 kg* fresh salmon (filets, not chops!)
    3 tablespoons salt
    2-3 tablespoons    sugar
    2 teaspoons crushed white pepper
    1-2 bouquets fresh dill

* You can reduce the amount of salmon, but you need two pieces for best results. The weight is included here because the amounts of other things you need are dimensioned for that weight. So if you reduce the amount of fish, you should reduce the other things a bit too.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In recent cook books it is recommended that the salmon is frozen for a few days either before or after the gravning in order to destroy any parasites. Parasites are very rare and I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick, but you may prefer to be on the safe side. Ask in the shop; it could be that they freeze certain kinds of fish for this reason, or you may buy frozen salmon (sometimes a little cheaper). If you start from a whole piece, it is easier to filet it when it is not fully defrosted. Just make sure it is well defrosted before you start the marinading procedure!

What to do:

  • Remove as many bones as you can (use pliers for those ones that stick up along the middle line), but leave the skin
  • Mix salt, sugar and pepper, and rub the pieces of salmon with it on all sides
  • Chop dill roughly and divide into three approximately equal amounts
  • Spread one third of the dill on the bottom of a dish and place a piece of salmon on top of it, skin down. Spread the next third on top of that piece, and place the other piece of salmon on it, skin up (so that the pieces face each other, so to speak). The salmon pieces should be in opposite directions, that is, the thick part of the bottom bit should “face” the thin part of the top bit, and vice versa
  • Place a plate or small choppingboard on top of the fish (etc.) and weigh down lightly, for instance with a tin
  • Leave in the fridge for 36-48 hours. Turn every morning and night and pour off any liquid that may have formed

The fish is ready to eat! Scrape off the spices and dill and cut thin slices along the broad surface of the filet (like shavings). You may serve it with plain toast or boiled new potatoes, and with a slice of lemon or a lovely mustard sauce.

Gravlax keeps for about a week (not that leftovers is usually a problem with gravlax in my experience).

Tips and hints:

Make sure to use regular salt rather than those sodium reduced ones, especially if you want it to keep for a while.

You can cut down on preparation time if you have a cellar or pantry where the temperature is 8-10 degrees Celcius (a little warmer than a fridge, but much colder than room temperature). It then takes only 24 hours to be prepared, and you can also reduce the quantities of spices to: 1-2 tablespoons of salt, 0.5-1 tablespoon of sugar and 0.75-1 teaspoon of pepper (it is impossible to overdo the dill). The higher amount of salt means it keeps for a couple of days longer than the week mentioned above.


Smaklig måltid!

Page created on May 27, 1999

Go to the gravlaxsås page!
Go to the glögg page!
Go to the apple chutney page!
Check out the conversion tables
Return to Eva Lindström's homepage