Swedish Gravad Lax - Norwegian Gravlaks - Danish Gravad laks:
Serve the Gravlax dish for lunch or as a dinner appetizer.
An excellent appetizer for large dinner parties since it can be made a few weeks ahead provided the fresh fish is cured, vacuum sealed and stored in freezer.
The Atlantic salmon (from the Atlantic or the Baltic Sea) is traditionally used for gravlax in Scandinavia. The farmed Atlantic salmon is available year around. However, the Northwest of North America has such wonderful selections of fresh salmon, depending time of the year, that make gravlax taste slightly differently but very tasty. Sockeye, Coho, Chinook, and King Salmon to name a few. Steelhead Trout is also an excellent choice for Gravlax. Scandinavians also cure fish such as herring, whitefish, and halibut.
The measurements below are for less than 2 pounds of fresh salmon. One does not have to be so exact with the measurements just remember to use a little bit more sugar than salt. You may also substitute the rose pepper and the coriander with an additional tablespoon of white peppercorns.
- 2 fresh salmon fillet with skin.
- 4 tbsp. coarse sea salt
- 4 tbsp. plus a dash Sugar (always more sugar than salt)
- 1 tsp. whole white peppercorns
- 3 tsp. whole rose peppercorns
- 3 tsp. coriander
- Plenty of fresh dill
- 2 thin filets: 1 - 2days
- 2 x 3 cm thick filets: 1.5–2.5 days
- 2 x 5 cm thick filets: 2-3 days
- Wipe salmon dry with paper towel and rinse the dill.
- Mix sugar and salt. Crush peppercorns and coriander together.
- Mix the spices with the sugar and the salt.
- Distribute the mixture onto the flesh sides of the salmon, making sure to cover the whole side.
- Pile the dill with stems on top of the mixture.
- Sandwich the fillets, the mixture facing each other. Put into a plastic bag and place it in a dish. Place a weight like a brick on top (but nothing heavier than a brick.) Place in refrigerator for one to four days depending on thickness and desired flavor turning the whole bag over every 8-12 hours.
- Remove all the dill and the mixture and rinse the salmon slightly under running water.
Pad lightly with paper towel to dry off the water.
Cut each fish into 2-3 pieces if you need to divide into fewer portions.
- Freeze in vacuum sealed plastic bag for at least 3-4 days.
Thaw in refrigerator.
- Use a sharp fillet knife to slice thinly at an angle towards the tail while detaching from the skin starting from the tail end first.
Serve with Mustard Dill Sauce, slices of lemons, fresh dill, and boiled small potatoes.
Traditional pairing of the Gravlax
- Pair the dish with Swedish crisp bread served with sharp and aged cheese.
- An American hoppy IPA goes really well with this dish.
- When gravlax is served as an appetizer, traditions call for Swedish crisp bread topped with a cheese with a bite, a glass of beer, and a shot of Scandinavian aquavit for the adults.
The first sip of the aquavit is only taken after the host or hostess announcement. The announcement can be a toast but it is more common to suggest a short aquavit song for everybody to sing.
To really appreciate the mixture of all the different flavors, have you fork ready with some potato, salmon, and mustard sauce on it to enjoy right after the shot. Follow up with a sip of beer.
Rimmad Lax - Lightly salted salmon
"Rimmad lax" is prepared the same way as Gravlax but uses slightly more salt than sugar. "Rimmad lax" is served without mustard sauce as a main course with stewed dill potaotes.
Should you have a piece of gravlax left over, brush some balsamic vinegar on top and grill it on a cedar plank.
This might not be something typical Swedish, but it turned out to be very tasty. It went very well with the grilled fresh asparagus brushed with olive oil and spices.
Do not drink and drive, operate heavy machinery,or other activities that do not mix with alcohol.
To eliminate any parasites, the fish should be frozen for at least 3-4 days. Thaw in refrigerator. Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.