“Salmon from the north of Norway is famous around Scandinavia. Its large size and rich fat make it a real delicacy from the region. This traditional Norwegian style of curing salmon is very simple, and perfect for feeding a crowd.” Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Scandinavia
- 1 kg fillet of salmon (about one whole side), skin on, pin-boned
- 75 g (⅓ cup) sugar
- 75 g (⅓ cup) salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped dill
- 2 tbsp akvavit or brandy (see Note)
- lemon wedges, red onion rings, rye bread and lompe (Norwegian potato flatbreads, see Note), to serve
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped dill
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) grapeseed oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Curing time 2 days
Cut the fish fillet in half widthways to make two equal pieces, then place both halves, skin-side down, on a large piece of plastic wrap. Mix together the sugar, salt and pepper and scatter the mixture in a thick layer over the flesh. Scatter over the dill and sprinkle it all with the akvavit or brandy.
Sandwich the two pieces together so the flesh sides are touching and the narrow ends are facing the same way. Wrap the fish tightly with at least three more layers of plastic wrap, pressing firmly to expel as much air as possible. Place the fish in a tray and refrigerate for 48 hours, flipping it over every 12 hours.
To make the mustard sauce, whisk all the ingredients, except the grapeseed oil, until combined. Whisking continuously, gradually add the grapeseed oil until emulsified.
To serve, unwrap the fish and place it on a chopping board. Wipe the fish lightly with a piece of damp paper towel to remove the excess sugar and salt, then wipe it down again with a piece of dry paper towel. Using a large sharp knife, shave the salmon thinly on an angle leaving the skin behind. Serve the salmon with the mustard sauce, lemon wedges, red onion rings and slices of rye bread and lompe.
• Akvavit (aquavit) is a Scandinavian spirit dating back to the 15th century. It is distilled with herbs and spices such as caraway, fennel and dill. Alternatively, use a good quality brandy.
• If you can’t find lompe, you can use any other wraps instead.
• This Norwegian cured salmon is called ‘gravlaks’, while the Swedish version of this recipe is referred to as ‘gravad lax’.
Photography, styling and food preparation by Adam Liaw.
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