Gravlax with fennel

Curing salmon in a crust of salt and sugar is a Scandinavian speciality, which Sophie Michell serves with a mustardy dressing
By Sophie Michell
Gravlax with fennel
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus overnight curing time
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 small filleted side salmon, about 600g, skinned and pin bones removed
  • 200 g sea salt
  • 250 g soft brown sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Pernod
  • 2 fennel, bulbs
  • 2 tbsp horseradish mustard, such as Tracklements
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • chopped dill, to garnish

To serve

  • toasted slices of sourdough
  • lemon wedges


1. Start the gravadlax the day before you want to eat it. Trim the piece of salmon neatly to give an even shape. Lay the salmon, skinned side down, in a large shallow dish or on a large tray. Mix the salt, sugar and lemon zest together and pat it all over to create a layer on top of the salmon, then sprinkle with the pernod. Cover with cling film and top with some sort of weight, like a chopping board with tins of beans laid on top, then chill in the fridge overnight to cure.

2. An hour or so before ready to serve, remove the salmon from the fridge, wash off the salt and sugar mix under running cold water then pat the salmon dry with kitchen paper. Cut the fronds from the fennel, then finely chop them and pat onto the flesh side of the salmon. Using a very sharp, long knife, cut the salmon into thin diagonal slices. Lay them on a serving platter and cover until ready to serve.

3. For the salad, slice the fennel bulbs very thinly, preferably using a mandolin, then place in a bowl and mix with the lemon juice and a splash of olive oil. Make a dressing by mixing together the mustard and vinegar with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water.

4. To serve, top the salmon slices with some salad and a drizzle of dressing. The rest of the salad can be served separately. Garnish with chopped dill and serve with toasted soda bread and lemon wedges.

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