I’ve been slacking somewhat on the blog of late, it’s been nearly 4 months since I last posted a recipe, time to fix that.

I like to prepare Gravlax, sometimes called Gravadlax, as a treat for the christmas holidays. My friends haven’t shown much distress when I share it about a bit and some of my family quite like it. The rest of my family think cured fish is the stuff of horrors, but that’s another story.


Salt cured salmon

This recipe is a really easy way of getting started with the fun of home curing, it’s impossible to break and it’s perfectly safe if you get fish with sufficiently good pedigree. It’s Scandinavian in origin and works by replacing the water in the fish with the salt. The unique flavour comes from the dill’s essence and sugar being carried along with the salt.

I get my salmon for this recipe from Cross Of York, a seriously good fishmonger on the York Newgate marketplace and one of Rick Stein’s original food heroes.


Salmon fillet. 1kg.
Salt. 4 tbsp
Sugar. 4 tbsp
Fresh dill. A good handful.
Greaseproof paper and / or cling film

Gravlax ingredients


Cut the salmon fillet into a useful shape and size. If you’re going to put it in a box when its curing in the fridge then use that as a template.

Prepare enough greaseproof paper and / or clingfilm to securely wrap the fish and lay it on your work surface.

Put the salmon in the middle of the paper / film.

Take equal quantities of salt and sugar, mix them together and spread evenly over the surface of the fish.

Home curing

Lightly bruise the fresh dill leaves and stems and place them on the top of the fish.

Final article

Securely wrap the fillet so that it’s reasonably watertight and put it in the fridge with a weight evenly applied to it. I use an old 2l ice cream container and use whatever’s to hand as a weight.

Leave it in the fridge for 48 – 96 hours, turning it every 12 hours.
After the 2nd day, you should find that much of the water has been drawn out of the fish and needs draining off. You can tell the process is complete when the flesh of the fish has changed from being translucent to opaque.

The surface of the fish will be noticably saltier than the inside, if that isn’t to your taste then very carefully take a thin slice off along top before slicing.

Slice it very thinly in the same way that smoked salmon is cut, across the grain. With a sufficiently sharp knife, you should have no trouble making well marbled slices that nearly fall apart.

Gravlax keeps for about a week after curing and can be served in a variety of ways. Some people serve it with fresh bread, butter and hot roast garlic, others prefer it with lemon and a mustard and dill sauce. Me? I make sushi with it because it’s easier to talk people into eating cured fish than raw. More on that soon.