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A tray with a plate of cured salmon with dill and a few drink glasses.
Cured salmon
Photo: Magnus Carlsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Things to do

Cured salmon aka gravad lax - recipe

Gravad lax or cured salmon is a marinated salmon dish and along with smoked salmon it is hugely popular on the Swedish smorgasbord. Gravlax is often served with a mustard sauce called Hovmästarsås.

Keep in mind that salmon should be frozen for 72 hours beforehand to kill any parasites. However, you can also cure it and freeze it afterwards.  This is great if you are planning a big dinner and want to prepare a couple of days ahead. 

Recipe:

About 6-8 portions

Ingredients:

1 kg side of salmon
3 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp salt
2 tsp crushed black pepper
1 bunch of dill
Grated zest from 1 organic lemon

Method:

Trim the salmon from the backbone (or ask your fishmonger to do this) so that you get 2 fillets. Mix sugar, salt, pepper and finely chopped dill. Rub the salmon fillets with the salt mixture and then put them together on top of each other so that the meat side meets meat side. 

Arrange them so that the narrow tail section meets the thicker neck section. That way you get one evenly thick salmon-package. Put the salmon in a plastic bag or in cling film. Put a weight on the salmon (such as a milk package, a bag of potatoes or something else) and leave in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Turn on the salmon package every now and then, do not forget to put the weight back. 

Remove the small bones from the salmon with a forceps and then cut each piece of filet into thin slices before serving. By cutting the cured salmon just before serving, you extend how long it lasts and it is also best to freeze the cured salmon when it is not in slices. 

The classic pairing

Hovmästarsås is a cold, emulsified sauce made of mustard, a neutral oil (rapeseed or sunflower), finely chopped dill  and winegar. The mustards are preferably a combination of the Swedish kind of "senap" (mustard), which is a bit sweet, and the more distinctively sharp and spicy french dijon. A trick from the Swedish masterchef Tommy Myllymäki is to add some muscovado sugar. Finish the sauce with a classic pinch of salt and grinded black pepper.


Recipe by Lisa Lemke