I associate this with Christmas because the Swedish part of my husband’s family have this on Christmas Eve. It is delicious at any time. I like it with the mayonnaise sauce, a green salad or green beans, and honey bread – see recipe – or with crushed new potatoes.
500g fillet of salmon skin on
Large bunch of dill
1. Lay a large piece of cling film in a dish which fits the salmon.
2. Lay the salmon, skin side down, on the cling film.
3. Cover the salmon with dill so that you are barely able to see the flesh.
4. Mix the sugar and salt together.
5. Cover the dill with the sugar and salt mixture (If you are making a larger amount, add more dill on top of the sugar and salt mixture and lay a piece of salmon, the same size as the one below, on top, skin side down against the dill, making a sandwich. You do not need more salt and sugar, just more dill)
6. Wrap the cling film around the salmon. You will need extra to ensure it is tightly sealed.
7. Put the dish in the fridge and put something heavy on top, such as a brick, cans of food or wine bottles on their side.
8. After 24 hours, turn the salmon. Do the same after another 24, and then after another 12 or so until the salmon feels supple but a little firm to the touch. This should take about 3 days.
9. Brush off the dill and the salt/sugar mixture. Then rinse it under the tap and pat it dry with a tea towel. Do not worry if there is some dill left on the flesh as this will only add to the flavour.
A choice of two sauces:
Traditional Gravalax Sauce 2 tbsp mustard 2 tsp caster sugar 2 tbsp chopped dill 240 mls plain oil such as sunflower oil
1. Put the mustard in a heavy bowl and gradually add the oil, whisking all the time.
2. Whisk in the sugar and the dill to taste.
Mayonnaise Gravalax sauce
2 egg yolks juice of half a lemon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp chopped dill
400mls plain oil (you can use 300mls of plain oil and 100mls of olive oil if you like, but do not use only olive oil as it will taste too rich)
For the sake of speed, I find it easier to use a magimix or a blender for this. You can though use a bowl and do it by hand.
You can add the vinegar at the beginning if you like. However, to ensure that you do not overdo the strength of the vinegar, I find adding it afterwards can be safer. Last time I made this, my husband thought it needed more vinegar, so another half tbsp at least may be needed. Add sugar according to taste, too.
1. Put the egg and the egg yolk in the bowl/magimix/blender – Add the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt.
2. Whisk together until the mixture is pale.
3.Gradually add the oil until a mayonnaise is made (if this splits, do not fear. Pour the split mixture into a jug, put a whole egg in the container (no need to rinse it out) and start again as if the split mayonnaise is the oil)
4. When you have a mayonnaise you are happy with, add the vinegar, sugar, mustard and dill. Whisk and add more sugar, mustard or vinegar to taste.
To serve, lay the salmon, flesh side up, on a chopping board. Slice the salmon as thinly as possible, pushing away from the skin as you cut, lay on a plate and drizzle the chosen sauce alongside or on top. If you are serving as canapes, look at the picture. If you have a more original idea, go for it, and tell me please!