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Gravlax: Discover a Scandinavian Tradition

It’s an ideal appetizer that’s easy to prepare ahead of time and personalize to your taste. Here’s an introduction to gravlax!

What is gravlax?

Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish consisting of fresh salmon cured in salt and sugar and flavoured with herbs, spices, zest, juice, or alcohol. In Sweden, the classic gravlax recipe is made with dill and juniper berries.

What cut of salmon should I use?

The fish must be very fresh and not have been frozen. Make sure it’s not too thick so that the salt and sugar can penetrate right through.

Although salmon tails are less expensive, salmon bellies have a delicate taste and can be easily sliced. Our Metro fish counter can help steer you in the right direction.

How do I make gravlax?

Mix equal parts course salt and brown sugar. Make sure you have enough to cover the fish.

Place two salmon filets side by side, skin side down.

Press the sugar and salt mixture evenly into the salmon.

Place one filet one on top of the other, flesh sides touching.

Tightly wrap salmon in plastic wrap and place in a glass dish or drip pan.

Place a small cutting board or plate on top and weigh down with a can.

Cook salmon in a whole new way!

How long do I let it marinate?

The fish needs to rest a few hours in the fridge in order for the salt to cook it. The time varies with individual preferences. If you prefer your gravlax on the raw side, leave the filets in the fridge for 6 hours, taking care to turn them over after 3 hours. If you prefer it more cooked, leave gravlax in the fridge for about 24 hours and turn filets after 12 hours.

Afterwards, rinse the salmon with cold water and pat dry before cutting it into thin slices, carpaccio style.

Can I play with the ingredients?

Yes! There are infinite ways to prepare your salt-sugar mix. Try:

  • Whole spices: Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, aniseed, juniper berries, peppercorns
  • Herbs: Dill, tarragon, chives, coriander
  • Alcohol: Gin, vodka, pastis
  • Zest: Orange, grapefruit, lime. Be sure not to add citrus juice, however, as this may cook the fish and change its colour and texture.

It’s best to master the basic recipe before moving on to alcohol and spices. In the wrong quantities, certain ingredients can add a bitter taste to marinated salmon.

What can I serve gravlax with?

Radishes, beets, avocado, delicate greens, watercress, asparagus, marinated onions, cucumber, zucchini, capers, and caviar go great with gravlax. It’s hard to go wrong!

Accompany your dish with a few dollops of Greek yogurt and fresh cheese or sour cream in a serving dish for a taste that’s both creamy and tangy.

Gravlax can be served as an appetizer or on crackers, toast, or endive leaves. Bon appétit!


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