Dill Pollen Gravad Lax

Dating to the Middle Ages when Nordic fishermen salted and lightly fermented fresh-caught salmon by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line, Gravad Lax (gravlax) is prized to this day for its delicate, briny flavor.  Quite expensive to purchase at retail, but dead simple to make at home using only 5 ingredients..

Dill Pollen Gravad Lax

Sustainable and among the safest remaining species in terms of mercury and PCBs, wild Alaskan salmon is a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.  Think of it as gourmet grizzly bear food!

Gravad Lax

1 pound fresh, wild Alaskan salmon (skin on or off, pinbones removed)
2 tablespoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons organic, pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon dill pollen (more flavorful than the traditionally-used fresh dill)
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Combine the salt, sugar, dill and pepper together in a bowl.  Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface, then place enough salt mixture down to match the size of the salmon at a depth of about 3/8 inch.  Position the salmon on top, then spread the remainder of the salt on the exposed surfaces to a similar depth.

Tightly wrap the package as it is, then wrap the entire bundle one more time.  Place the wrapped salmon on a dish or inside of a plastic bag to catch the juices, then refrigerate for 48-72 hours, turning once half way through.

Unwrap the salmon, rinse away the salt under cold, running water and blot lightly.  To use, simply slice the salmon thinly on a bias and serve on top of a bagel with cream cheese, or in a French omelet, perhaps.

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8 thoughts on “Dill Pollen Gravad Lax

  1. thanks for the recipe and photo. I have always wanted to make
    something like this and hadn’t experimented yet. This time of year I often have part of a filet left after grilling or smoking the rest.
    In the PNW we are just beginning the “humpy” salmon season which
    I will try, as well as the king.

  2. sweetcomice, I tried this last year (also in PNW). It works for humpy (or pinkie) as well, but there is a qualitative difference due to the stronger aroma of the oil in the humpy. You can really tell the difference with King or Sockeye. I even tried Keta (chum). It worked well but had a stronger smell and less delicate taste.

  3. Very similar to a salmon gravlax we made and served during my tenure at the Columns Hotel in NOLA in the mid 1980’s. We offered it as an appetizer special along with a dollop of sourcream, chive, and dill sauce. I remember using fresh dill in the preparation, however, and have not used the dill pollon. Going to have to track down some of this dill pollon.

    Bon appetit!

    1. You’re absolutely correct- fresh dill is the traditional preparation, and had I had any I likely would have used it. On the other hand, dill pollen keeps for ages and offers a much more intense flavor (so use sparingly). Works very well in homemade pickles too.

      Thanks, Chef!

  4. We very lightly smoke our gravlox after it is done dry brining.
    We keep the smoker on low after the chips start smoking, and then leave it in there just to the point that it is no longer cold.
    If the white fat shows, its just a wee bit too long.

  5. Ren, I made this recipe this week using dill weed because I had no dill pollen. We all enjoyed the silky texture and delicateness of the salmon. Served it with cream cheese enriched with orange zest and honey, toasted pumpernickle bread, shaved red onion and capers. Accompanied by a dry, crisp, herbal, citrus Alsatian white wine. Absolutely one of the most perfect summer suppers I have had in quite some time. Thank you!

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