In Sweden you usually have Gravlax during the holidays i.e Easter or Christmas and also served in most restaurants and smörgåsbord.
Gravlax is a piece of Swedish food history, except for Swedish Meatballs, I think gravlax is the most famous culinary Swedish dish in the world. You can get gravlax served in many parts of the world in many different restaurants. Most of the time it is prepared the same way, use the same amount of salt and sugar. If you do use more salt then sugar the harder the salmon will get and it is usually recommended that you use the middle piece of a salmon file.
Since the 1600’s the mustard sauce has been served with the salmon and always made with mustard, oil and vinegar. The ratios usually differ per family and restaurant but the ingredients usually stay the same.
To me this is on of my favorite Swedish dishes. And if you do not like to eat “raw” cured salmon you can always cure it and then cook it.
Cured Salmon “Gravlax”
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cure Time: 3 days
1 lbs of nice thick and fatty salmon file
1 large bunch of fresh dill
4 tbsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tbsp crushed whole white pepper
Make sure that the salmon is fresh or previously frozen. You can also freeze if after you have cured it.
Cut the salmon file in half. Mix the salt, pepper and sugar in a bowl. Chop the dill. Rub the salmon fillets with the sugar and salt mixture both front and back. You want your salmon to be covered with this mixture, use it all. Put one of the salmon pieces skin down in a deep dish and add dill. Place the other piece of salmon, skin side up on top of the first one. Wrap the salmon pieces in plastic wrap and place it back into the dish. Juices will come out of your salmon so make sure you have a dish under this that can cover it or put it in a zip locked bag. Place something heavy on the salmon, like a book or zip locked bag with coins. Put the salmon in the refrigerator for 3 days. Turn the salmon twice a day.
After 3 days take out the salmon and remove the dill and spices using your hands, do not rinse the salmon.
At this point the salmon is ready to be served, or you can freeze it and use it for another time.
Serve as an appetizer on toast with lettuce leaves and Hovmästarsås or serve as a main course with cooked fresh potatoes and Hovmästarsås.
Mustard Sauce “Hovmästarsås”
Prep Time: 15 minutes
6 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
10 tbsp of nice yellow mustard
6-8 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
Pour the vinegar in a small bowl, mix with sugar and salt and stir until somewhat dissolved. Add mustard and oil and stir until well mixed. Cut the dill finely with scissors in a cup. Add dill to the sauce and stir to mix.
The sauce is ready to be served and can be stored for several week in the fridge.
Serve with cured salmon “Gravlax.” This sauce also goes with other seafood as well for example crab, shrimp and lobster.