Salmon Gravlax & Mustard Sauce

appetizer entree Dec 07, 2019

Salmon Gravlax, Mustard Sauce & Dill

Gravlax is a traditional preparation for preserving salmon. The salmon is cured in a dry mixture of salt, sugar, spices and dill which pull out moisture and give the salmon a “cooked” or “smoked” texture while still having the benefits of being raw. It’s beautiful on a buffet which is the traditional way to serve food in Sweden. Swedes are famous for the their meals with multiple courses and dishes.

Make sure to use fresh, wild caught salmon rather than farmed-raised fish which have a greater risk for disease and parasites, and as a result, are fed regular cycles of antibiotics.

Saltwater and cold water naturally keeps fish clear of unsavory organisms. Plus, the process of curing with salt pulls out moisture which also helps to kill bacteria. An extra step is to freeze the fish which will kill any organisms. Thaw in the fridge and then cure.

This recipe serves 6-8

For the gravlax:

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1 Tbls. cracked white peppercorns

  • 1 - 1/2 pounds skin-on, sushi quality salmon fillet, in one piece, pin bones removed

  • 1 large bunch fresh dill, coarsely chopped (including stems) I buy mine at
    Mediterranean markets

Mustard Sauce:

  • 2 Tbls. Swedish mild mustard or honey mustard

  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

  • 2 tsp. sugar

  • 1 1/2 Tbls. white wine vinegar

  • 1 Tbls. cold strong coffee

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup grapeseed oil or avocado oil

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

  • Thin slices whole-grain or seeded rye bread

Prepare the gravlax:

  1. Combine the sugar, salt, and peppercorns in a small bowl and mix well.

  2. Place the salmon in a shallow dish and rub a handful of the salt mixture into both sides of the fish. Sprinkle the salmon with the remaining mixture and cover with the dill.

  3. Cover the dish and let stand for 6 hours in a cool spot. 

  4. Transfer the salmon to the refrigerator and let cure for 36 hours.

Up to 1 day ahead, prepare the mustard sauce:

  1. Combine both mustards, the sugar, vinegar, coffee, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, blending until the sauce is thick and creamy.

  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the dill. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to marry.

To Serve:

  1. Scrape the seasonings off the gravlax. Slice the gravlax on the bias into very thin slices similar to smoked salmon or, leave whole so your guests can slice it themselves.

  2. Garnish with fresh dill and serve with the mustard sauce and bread. 

  • Gravlax will keep in the refrigerator, well wrapped, for at least 7 days. Leftovers can also be frozen, wrapped in plastic and then in foil, for up to 2 months. 

  • Dangers of raw fish:

    • While fish has been preserved by this method for generations, there are always possible health risk to eating raw fish including Listeria, Vibrio, Clostridium and Salmonella. The salt/sugar curing pulls out much of the moisture and acts as a preservative. The health benefits to eating raw fish are numerous. That said, make sure you salmon is wild caught, very fresh, and from a reputable source. Additionally, be clear when serving to guests that it is a raw fish product.

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