This is the traditional Swedish gravlax recipe. Nowadays lots of varieties have evolved, but this is the original. It is traditionally served with the mustard sauce ('Gravlaxsas') and lemon. I recommend a German or Californian dry or semi-dry white wine to this. Because of the simplicity of the recipe, the salmon has to be of the best quality and freshness available.
- 2 lbs norwegian salmon fillets (of optimum quality)
- 1⁄4 cup salt (preferably sea salt)
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon white peppercorns, slightly crushed in a mortar
- 1 bunch fresh dill, the stems
- 3 tablespoons Swedish mustard or 3 tablespoons german sweet mustard
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- salt, pepper
- 6 tablespoons mild vegetable oil (not olive oil!)
- additional fresh dill, finely chopped
- For the salmon, remove all bones with a pair of tweezers, but leave the skin on.
- Mash the dill stems in a mortar with a little of the salt.
- Mix with the rest of the salt, the sugar and pepper.
- Save the dill leaves for the sauce.
- Cover the flesh side of the fillets with the mixture, and place the fillets flesh-to-flesh in a tray made of glass or stainless steel.
- Cover with plastic foil and put a heavy weight on top (e. g. the mortar or a brick).
- Keep refrigerated for 72 hours, turning the fillets every 12 hours.
- Do not discard the liquid that forms.
- Scrape off the spices and discard the liquid.
- The salmon will keep refrigerated for about a week.
- For the sauce, mix mustard, sugar and vinegar.
- Add the oil a little at the time (as for mayonnaise), constantly stirring.
- Just before serving, add lots of dill and salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice the salmon with a sharp, flexible knife in big, thin slices parallell to the skin.
- Arrange the ice-cold salmon on lettuce leaves with slices of lemon.
- Serve the sauce separately.
- Also serve toasted bread and butter.