It seems a bit weird to be using a recipe that you can easily access online. After all, that’s where I found it. But I figure that this column is kind of like a recommendation from a test kitchen – I’ve made it, I know it works, and now you should make it too.
This recipe originally ran in Gourmet Traveller in 2007. I like that it has gin in it. That and the juniper berries really take it to another level.
It takes a day to make this, so be prepared. Don’t pull of of my tricks, and start the recipe only to realise that it takes 24 hours to make and you have people coming in 15 minutes.
I also should note that I’ve made this using fennel instead of dill, when I couldn’t find the latter and it still turned out well.
This is a brilliant recipe for entertaining. I’ve made it three times now, and every time it goes down a treat. The pickled cucumbers and mustard sauce really make it, so don’t leave those out. Serve with some dark, thinly sliced bread. It’s really good.
500g coarse rock salt
400g white sugar
1 cup finely chopped dill (or fennel at a pinch)
1/4 cup gin (or vodka, but gin tastes better)
2 Tbsp juniper berries, coarsest crushed
1 whole salmon fillet, skin on and pin-boned
3 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced diagonally
1/3 cup dill sprigs
½ cup white sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
¼ cup hot English mustard powder
½ cup caster sugar
300 ml cream
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- Combine salt, sugar, dill, gin and juniper berries in a bowl.
- Place two sheets of plastic wrap, long enough to envelope salmon in, overlapping by half, on a work bench, spread with half of salt mixture, place salmon skin-side down on top, cover fish with remaining salt mixture, wrap tightly in plastic, then place on a large deep tray. Top with a smaller tray or board and weigh down with food cans and refrigerate for 12 hours, then remove weights, turn over, replace tray and weights and refrigerate for another 12 hours.
- For dill cucumbers, layer cucumber and dill in a bowl.
- Heat sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, ½ cup water and 1 tsp sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil, then pour over cucumber and cool.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
- For mustard sauce, combine mustard, sugar and 1 tsp sea salt in a small saucepan, add cream and whisk until smooth
- Place over medium heat, add olive oil and cider vinegar and whisk to combine.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is golden and thick.
- Cool, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
- To serve, unwrap gravlax and wipe clean of salt mixture. Using a thin, sharp knife, thinly slice gravlax and serve with dill cucumbers, mustard sauce, sour cream, rye bread and lemon wedges passed separately.