Recipe: Norwegian Gravlaks
Updated: Nov 5, 2022
Love Gravlaks but not the price? It’s so simple to make your own using our Salmon or Arctic Char, and our 358 year old Norwegian family recipe will help you along. We’ve even tweaked the recipe so you don’t have to “begrave i sanden over høyvannsmerke" — "bury it in the sand above the high water mark” — until it cures.
Ingredients [also see notes, below]
2 Salmon fillets (the size depends on how much you want to make, simply be sure that both fillets are the same size)
½ cup coarse Sea or Kosher Salt
½ cup of Sugar
2 tsp of White Pepper
3-4 tbsp crushed Juniper Berries
2 cups chopped fresh Dill
Mix together all the ingredients except for the fish and dill; you can always make extra (we always do) as it keeps well in an airtight container.
Prick the skin side of each fillet in several places to allow the mixture to penetrate. Place a long piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Sprinkle some of the mixture on the plastic and place the first fillet skin-side down on top. Coat the flesh-side heavily with the mixture, including the sides. Lay the chopped dill in a thick layer on top.
Coat the second fillet on both sides with the mixture. Place the second fillet flesh-down on the first fillet, like a sandwich. If each fillet has a thick and a thin section, make sure you marry thick to thin on both pieces.
Wrap firmly several times in the plastic wrap, and place in a glass bowl or plastic container. Place in refrigerator for at least 48 hours, flipping over every 12 hours to make sure that the fish is evenly marinated. You’ll notice that liquid will form in the container … this is water being drawn out of the fish by the salt. Discard it, or use it in another Scandanavian dish.
After 48 hours, unwrap. Leaving it longer than 48 hours tends to make the flesh a little rubbery. Remove the dill and scrape off excess salt mixture. With a sharp knife, cut thin slices of fish off the fillets at a 45 degree angle. You can store for up to a week in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
While Salmon is more traditional, we actually like using Arctic Char instead when available. With less fat than Salmon, we like the mouth feel of the Char a little bit more.
You can find Juniper Berries in some grocery stores or, more easily, online (e.g., Amazon). If not available, simply omit.