Swedish Gravlax 
May 15, 2024
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

Swedish gravlax is the ideal dish to share with friends and family, and it’s surprisingly simple to make at home. Traceable back to 14th century Sweden, when salt was prohibitively expensive, but food preservation was necessary, gravlax translates to “buried salmon.” Fishermen would bury their freshly caught salmon in the ground with birch bark, herbs, and spices and let it ferment, resulting in a potent but preserved product. Today’s gravlax recipes are much more palatable and easy to prepare. Just be sure to source the freshest salmon, as you won’t cook it in this recipe. Salmon packs a nutritional punch with omega-3 fatty acids, which help with immune function, memory, skin and heart health.


  • 1 ½ pound center-cut sashimi-grade salmon
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed white peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill, plus more for serving
  • Lemon slices, rye crackers, mustard sauce (recipe below) and thinly sliced cucumbers to serve


  1. Place the salmon skin side down in a glass or ceramic dish. Mix the salt, sugar, peppercorns and dill. Pack the mixture evenly over the salmon and cover tightly with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place a small dish over the salmon, then weigh the dish down with a few cans or jars to compress the salmon. 
  2. Refrigerate for two days, turning the salmon over every 12 hours to baste evenly. 
  3. When ready to serve, brush off all the curing mixture and plate the salmon with all the accompaniments. Garnish with fresh dill if desired. Slice thinly with a very sharp knife and enjoy! 

Mustard Sauce:

In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup mustard, ¼ cup mayonnaise, one tablespoon of honey, a splash of fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: www.elizabethpalmerkitchen.com