Listen, my family was far too timid for something as bold as UNCOOKED FISH (!!!!!!!) when I was a kid. If we ate fish, it was salmon cooked within an inch of its life, accompanied by asparagus boiled for so long it could be mashed into a stringy pulp. This may come as a shock, but as a kid, I hated fish. Even if it was covered in that parmesan that comes in the green can.
These days, I literally dream of a good piece of raw salmon on my plate, and I eat cured salmon gravadlax several times a week. Around my house, we mostly eat it with cream cheese, capers and onions on a piece of homemade rye bread for breakfast.
Like most of my recipes, this one is short on sugar. If you prefer a slightly sweeter note to your gravadlax (or gravlax), double the amount of sugar in this recipe. You can even triple it if you want, it’s your life. The only thing I can’t accept is reducing the amount of dill. That’s truly a travesty.
I leave the skin on the salmon and cut it off after it has cured (and then I fry it and toss it with some watercress and lemon olive oil) but you can have it removed at the fish counter. If raw fish scares you, make sure to purchase salmon that has been frozen because freezing kills off the bad stuff.
Ingredients for Swedish Gravadlax:
Requires 20 minutes preparation time and at least 2 days to cure.
- 2 lb high quality salmon fillet
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 TB pepper
- 1 tsp crushed juniper berries (optional)
- 1 bunch dill
Place salmon in a shallow bowl. Chop up 2 tablespoons of dill.
Mix the salt, sugar, pepper, dill and juniper together. Spread half over the salmon and press it into the flesh. Flip it over, and sprinkle the other half on top. Cover with plastic wrap and weigh it down (I put another bowl on top and put water or things from the fridge inside of the bowl to add weight). Put it in the fridge for two days.
After curing for a few days, rinse the salmon off under cold water and pat dry. Slice into bite-size pieces.
Before serving, chop more fresh dill on top.
Slice thinly and serve with rye bread topped with fresh butter, or rye crisps topped with capers and thin slices of onion.