Gin cured gravlax

Gin cured gravlax



Serves Cook time Prep time Total time

a crowd

36 hours

15 minutes

1 1/2 days

Curing salmon might seem like a daunting task but it’s surprisingly very easy. It also has to be one of the most impressive dishes you can serve to a crowd.  Yes it takes some planning, you’ll need to start the recipe two days ahead, but the actual work is very minimal and not to mention rewarding.

The Vikings invented salmon gravlax as a way to preserve their fish for the wintertime or when they went out on hunting trips. For the curing process they would bury their fish under at least a metre of sand. I won’t make you do that; instead we will use kitchen weights, such as tomato cans or soda water bottles, and store our fish in the fridge.  

Don’t be concerned about the amount of sugar and salt used either, the purpose of this is to draw out the moisture and then it all gets scrapped off after it has done its job.


1 x 1 kg salmon fillet, skin on, trimmed and pin-boned
300 g rock salt
100 g white course sugar
2 bunches of dill, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon juniper berries
¼ cup gin

Serve with sour cream, picked red onions or dill cucumbers, lemon and rye bread.


Combine salt, sugar, dill, lemon zest, juniper berries and gin in a bowl. Mix until you have a wet sand consistency.

Lay 2 pieces of plastic wrap, long enough to wrap your salmon, out on your bench. You will need to slightly overlap these. Spread half the salt mixture out and place salmon, skin side down on top. Cover salmon with remaining salt mixture. You want your salmon to be completely covered with the salt mixture, just like a salt crust. Wrap your salmon tightly up in the plastic wrap and then place in a deep-sided tray. The salmon will leak out a lot of moisture so keep this in mind. It will look like green oil.

Cover deep-sided tray with another layer of plastic wrap. Top salmon with weights such as foil wrapped bricks or food cans. I sometimes wrap a 2L bottle of milk in foil to weight on top. Whatever you have that will sit and apply weight on the salmon.  

Refrigerate for 24 hours and then remove weights, turn salmon over, replace weights and refrigerator for another 12 hours.

To serve, unwrap your gravlax and wipe all the salt mixture off. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. 

You can leave the skin on or remove it by placing the fish skin side down, start at the tail end, cut into the fillet and then tilt your knife and run it under the skin, separating it from the fillet. However, if you plan to keep it for longer in the fridge, leave the skin on

Thinly slice your salmon and serve with pickled onions or dill cucumbers, sour cream and rye bread.

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