20-30 portions

Ready In:

 30mins prep. 5 days to cure

Good For:

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. Canapes. 


  • I x 1.3kg side of fresh salmon (skin on, not pin-boned)

  • 180g caster sugar

  • 170g table salt

  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli

  • 1 lemon-zest only

  • 2tsp coriander seeds- toasted & crushed

  • 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds- toasted & crushed

  • 1/2 tsp freshly milled black pepper
  • 2tsp zahtar seasoning

  • 4-5tsp seeded mustard 

  • 4dsp chopped oregano

  • 4dsp chopped parsley 

  • 3tsp Dijon mustard (put over ready cured fish)
  • 3dsp fresh chopped parsley- (over ready cured fish)
  • 3dsp fresh chopped oregano- (over ready cured fish)

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

If like me you’re rather fond of cold-smoked salmon then this dish is the next best thing in regards to texture and taste, but without the smoke. 

Curing salmon into gravadlax doesn’t require any regulated humidity or specialist temperature control, which is why it’s the next best thing for the home cook. 

My recipe uses a lot less curing mixture to other recipes but I cure my fish for longer. 


Step 2

To start dry toast the spices in a hot pan for 2mins and then crush in a pestle and mortar, or with a rolling pin.

Mix the ground spices with the lemon zest, chilli, zahtar seasoning, milled pepper, salt and sugar. Mix together until well combined.

Step 3

Place the fish onto greaseproof paper while wearing gloves. Don’t touch the fish without gloves as you don’t want to add bacteria as this will effect the storage time. Pat down and dry both sides of the fish using paper towel and ensure salmon is skin side down on the paper.

Scatter the curing mixture all over the fish ensuring to cover all the flesh of the fish. Sprinkle all the herbs over the fish. 

Step 4

Move the fish onto a cooling rack and sit this over a tray (this will collect the liquids during curing). Cover the fish with glad wrap and put weights onto the fish (up to a kg). Don’t put weights that are too heavy as this will damage the fish. The idea is to press the fish a little without breaking the flesh. 

Use weights directly onto the fish for the first 24hours and then swop over to a tray. After 24hours remove the weights and place a tray over the fish and replace the weights on top.

Leave in the fridge for 5 days in total. 1 day without the tray and 4 days with. 

 Step 5

During the curing process check the fish is dropping juices into the tray and not collecting around the fish as this will make it salty. If you need to change the greaseproof paper and glad wrap, please  do this with gloved hands.

  Step 6

 After 5 days of curing the salmon will have firmed up quite a lot. Remove from the fridge and lift weights, and remove glad wrap. Using gloved hands pat the fish dry skin and flesh side. Some recipes wash at this stage but I don’t.

Brush Dijon mustard over the flesh side of the fish and scatter fresh herbs over.

Wrap in glad wrap and leave in fridge for 20mins after which it’s ready to use. 

Traditionally using dill, I’ve had to adapt as this herb is regularly unavailable in New Zealand, especially around Christmas time. 

  Step 7

 I vacuum pack my gravadlax to extend the shelf life to 3 months. If storing in the fridge wrapped in glad wrap this will last up to 6 weeks. 

Use a thin blade when slicing cured fish like gravadlax. Gravadlax and cold smoked fish want to be sliced wafer thin. If you put onto a piece of lined paper, you’ll be able to see through.

Wanting the fish to be a bit sweeter then increase the sugar by 50g.

To serve I eat my gravadlax with lots of suitable accompaniments including mustard, sour cream, lemon, smoked fish roe, taramasalata, and lots more. 

If you make this dish, please share with me your experience.      

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