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The Smelly Alley Fish Company | Gravadlax recipe

Gravlax or gravad lax is Swedish
Gravet laks is Danish
Gravlaks is Norwegian
Graavilohi is Finnish
Graavilõhe is Estonian
Graflax is Icelandic

This will serve 8 as a starter or 6 as a light meal.


Start making th
e gravlax three or four days before you want it, three days for a softer gravadlax, four days for a firmer gravlax as it dries out with time. Don’t stretch it to five days.

It looks complicated, but this is an easy recipe.

Ingredients for the gravlax

A middle portion of salmon, 1kg, cut into two 500g fillets (order salmon prepared for gravlax)

2 tablespoons sea salt, flakes, not the salt for grinders

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vodka, gin or brandy

A large bunch of roughly chopped fresh dill. Most of the supermarkets seem to sell dill in 25 or 30g packs, you will probably need three of these.

Keep one of the dill packs back for the sauce

You’ll need a shallow dish or deepish plate – glass or crockery

Mix the salt, sugar and black pepper together and rub into the flesh side of both fillets and then sprinkle on the vodka, gin or brandy. Spread a quarter of the dill onto each fillet, and another quarter onto the plate. Put one salmon fillet on the plate skin side down, put the other side on top of the first, then sprinkle the remaining quarter of the dill on top of the salmon, which should by now look like a reassembled whole salmon portion.

Cover the fish with cling film and put a flat plate on top of it. Weight the plate down (cans will do), and put in the fridge. Three or four days is a good time to leave it, as it starts to dry out after 4 days and the texture gets firmer.

When you’re ready to eat, discard most of the dill and put the fillets one by one onto a board. Cut the gravlax into thin slices, cut down into the fish so that the slices are small, rather than along the length of the fillet.

Serve the gravlax heaped on a plate with some sauce in a dish. It goes well with toast or crusty wholemeal bread. Good with a warm potato salad for a light meal.

It is excellent with dill or mustard sauce.

One of our customers sent us this: "I suggest customers also make a cucumber salad to complete the dish. One large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced. Place in a container, mix with 2 teaspoons of castor sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and a sprinkling of white pepper. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour. Squeeze out the excess liquid, place in a serving dish and mix with crème fraȋche, leave in the fridge for minimum of one hour and serve cold. Excellent starter with fresh bread.”

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