You can buy this lovely cured salmon in nice supermarkets in Finland at the fish counter, but thanks to my mom, I got inspired a while ago to have a go at making my own. If you can get your hands on a nice fresh (!) side of salmon, then defiately make this. It comes out looking impressive and like you've put loads of work and time in, but really, it's pretty simple. And I've already talked about the importance of omega-3 fats, so there's *that* bonus to this dish too!
Traditionally, this is made in Finland with just dill, but I think the beetroot adds a really nice colour. Just make sure you use the fresh kind, not cooked. I made this for christmas but it is considering an appearance on New Year's too! You need to leave the salmon for 48 hours to cure, so get started on time.
Dill & Beetroot Gravad Lax
1 side of salmon, about 1 kg
3 small beetroots (fresh), peeled and grated coarsely
1 tbsp black peppercorns, roughly ground
75 g caster sugar
50 g coarse sea salt
30 g fresh dill, roughly chopped
Mustard & Dill Sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbps dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
10 g fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Prepare a tray large enough to hold the side of salmon by covering in foil, leaving plenty extra on the sides to cover the fish with later. Make sure the tray has sides to stop any curing liquid spilling into your fridge.
In a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, dill, peppercorns and beetroots. Place the salmon on the tray skin side down, and spread the curing mix on top, making sure it covers the whole fish. Tuck the sides of foil over to cover, and re-wrap in another piece. You want to push down and make sure the whole fish is covered tight. You can even put a weight on top, like a heavy cutting board - but I haven't found this necessary.
Place in the fridge and leave for about 48 hours to cure until the fish feels firmer to the touch. You can flip it over every 12 hours or so just in the tray. Once done, scrape off most of the extra curing mixture, and slice into thin slices using a sharp knive. I find a sideways slice gives a neater result.
To make the sauce, mix the lemon juice, mustard, dill, pepper, mayonnaise and olive oil, and serve next to the gravad lax.
Hi! I'm Nelli, a Finnish home-cook, and Nutritionist in the works.