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Gravad Lax, a beloved Scandinavian classic, is a culinary masterpiece that combines the freshness of salmon with the aromatic flavors of dill and spices. This dish is a true testament to Scandinavian cuisine's ability to transform simple ingredients into an exquisite delicacy. In this article, we'll take you on a journey to create your own Gravad Lax at home.
What is Gravad Lax?
Gravad Lax, pronounced "GRAH-vahd lahx," is a traditional Nordic dish that translates to "buried salmon" in English. It earned this name because the salmon used to be buried in the ground to ferment. Nowadays, Gravad Lax is prepared by curing salmon fillets with a mixture of salt, sugar, dill, and various seasonings. The result is a delectable, thinly sliced salmon that is often served with mustard sauce, dill sauce, or on rye bread.
Ingredients for Gravad Lax:
For the Salmon:
1 pound (450g) salmon fillet, skin-on, pin-boned
1/4 cup (50g) salt
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (30g) fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon white peppercorns, crushed
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
For the Mustard-Dill Sauce:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare the Salmon:
Place the salmon fillet skin-side down on a clean, large piece of plastic wrap.
2. Mix the Curing Mixture:
In a bowl, combine the salt, sugar, chopped dill, crushed white peppercorns, lemon zest, and orange zest.
3. Apply the Curing Mixture:
Sprinkle the curing mixture evenly over the flesh side of the salmon fillet, ensuring full coverage. Wrap the salmon tightly in the plastic wrap to create a parcel.
4. Refrigerate and Cure:
Place the wrapped salmon in a shallow dish and refrigerate. Allow the salmon to cure for 2-3 days, turning it over once a day.
5. Prepare the Mustard-Dill Sauce:
In a bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, honey, and white wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil while whisking continuously until the mixture emulsifies. Stir in the chopped fresh dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set the sauce aside.
6. Slice and Serve:
Once the salmon has finished curing, remove it from the plastic wrap and carefully scrape off the curing mixture. Slice the Gravad Lax thinly at an angle, starting at the tail end and moving towards the thicker part of the fillet.
7. Serve and Enjoy:
Arrange the slices of Gravad Lax on a platter. Serve with the Mustard-Dill Sauce, rye bread, crackers, or as an elegant addition to a salad.
Gravad Lax is a remarkable dish that embodies the essence of Scandinavian cuisine. The delicate balance of salt, sugar, dill, and spices transforms fresh salmon into a culinary masterpiece. Whether you enjoy it as an appetizer, on open-faced sandwiches, or as part of a festive meal, Gravad Lax is sure to impress your taste buds and guests alike.