Salmon Gravlax

Salmon Gravlax


This fantastic appetizer is flavored with a hint of star anise, fennel and dill.
  • Serves: 6 to 10
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 48 hrs
  • Views: 45,106
  • Success Rating: 96% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing the Gravlax

• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup coarse salt
• 2 tsp whole star anise
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds
• 2 tsp white peppercorns
• 1/4 cup fresh dill
• 1 whole fresh salmon fillet


To make the rub (or curing mixture) for the gravlax, combine the sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.

Heat a fry pan to medium-high heat and toast the star anise and fennel seeds. Set aside to cool. Once cool, grind the star anise, fennel and peppercorns. Add the ground spices to the salt and sugar mix. Chop the dill and mix everything together.

Next, remove any pinbones from the salmon, along with the thin part of the belly and any excess fat.

Using a casserole dish that is large enough for the salmon to lie flat, sprinkle a layer of the curing mixture to lightly coat the bottom of the dish. Lay the fish skin side down and sprinkle a generous amount of the curing mixture onto the top side of the salmon. Depending on the size of your fish, you may not need to use all of the curing mixture. Just be sure you have an even layer on the top side of the fish.

Next, lay a piece of plastic wrap over the fish, followed by a smaller casserole dish to rest over the plastic wrap. Add a weight to the dish (such as a few heavy cans). Allow the salmon to cure for approximately two days in the refrigerator. Turn the salmon over once each day to ensure that it is being evenly cured. After about 48 hours, brush off any remaining curing mixture and keep the salmon wrapped in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Step 2: Preparing the Crème Fraîche

• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1/4 cup buttermilk
• 1 to 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


To make the crème fraîche, pour boiling water into an earthenware crock, a heavy glass jar or measuring cup. Allow the container to heat for a minute, then pour out the water. Add the heavy cream, buttermilk and lemon juice. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for two days or until the mixture reaches the consistency of thick cream. It will thicken even further once refrigerated.

If stored properly, crème fraîche will last up to a week in the refrigerator.

Step 3: Plating the Salmon

• 1/2 cup baby greens
• 1 pinch kosher salt
• 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp tobiko (can substitute with salmon roe)


To serve the gravlax, be sure to use a sharp slicing knife or a fish slicer. Starting at the tail, angle your knife and try to cut the pieces as thinly as possible, making sure not to cut through the skin.

Gently toss the greens with a tiny bit of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place a few pieces of the salmon onto a plate and then top with a small bunch of the greens. Garnish the plate with a dollop of crème fraîche, a tiny bit of salmon roe or tobiko and a few small sprigs of fresh dill. Serve.

Chef's Notes

Gravlax can be served with toasted bread or crackers, it can be served with a salad. Basically, any way you would serve a smoked salmon appetizer.

Fresh spring salmon will work just as well. In fact, you can even use fresh tuna for this dish!


  • Alexander N
    Alexander N
    The use of star anise in this recipe is brillient. I suggest experimenting with other aromatic spices in small quantities to develop your personal version. Cardomom is one I like.
  • Sandra P
    Sandra P
    Does the Salmon need to be sashimi grade? Thanks!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    We have made this for years and never used sushi grade. Of course it certainly would not hurt, it's just not necessary.
  • Mary-anne D
    Mary-anne D
    I use cardamon, pepper, lemongrass, culantro, gin and Mekong amongst other things-simply amazing-weighted and aged for a few weeks. Steelhead is also lovely as Gravlaxx.
  • Eric N
    Eric N
    Acording to most recipes in Sweden you should put the salmon in the freezer for atleast 24 hours prior to making the dish. This is to kill potential parasites. By the way, lax means salmon in swedish.
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    I have done cured salmon, gravlax for years always using fresh salmon, the more salt and longer you leave it on the more cured and the more safe your salmon will be, because the flesh will then be very alkaline inhibiting bacteria to multiply and parasite to nourish themselves, this process has been around a long time. Nowadays we do not cure it for as long because we do have refrigeration and don't care much for very salty fish, so the modern version is more a compromise, the salmon should be very fresh, either fresh or previously frozen when very fresh, it should be cured in the fridge and kept in the fridge easily up to a week after the curing process before it may spoil, you can also cure several fillets and freeze them. Defrosting and using one at the time, Hope it helps.
  • Dr john r W
    Dr john r W
    Do you recommend the use of culantro as a substitute for cilantro? If so, what ratio do you suggest as culantro is more pungent than cilantro. The only reference to culantro I can find on the website is the above comment on Thai Gravlaxx. Culantro is such an easy herb to grow, especially when compared to trying to grow cilantro (at least in Florida. Suggestions?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    I have never actually heard of cilantro. As for how to use it in comparison to cilantro, I would suggest you just use it to taste, keeping in mind that you can always add more. Cheers!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    The salmon fillet I bought had no sc scaled removed from the skin. Should I leave the scale on or should I remove it? If you could possibly let me know ASAP since I just unwrapped the salmon and found it has skin with scales. Thank you....
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Yes, you need to remove the skin and scales. Cheers!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Kimberley, Thank you for your reply. After brief deliberation I've decided to clean salmon skin off the scales. I did left the skin on though. Your instructional video also shows fillet of salmon with the skin on. So I guess either way would be ok to cure the fillet of salmon with or without skin. Right?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Good call. Scales would not be pleasant. This particular chef left the skin on, but it wouldn't hurt to have it off either. Without the skin, the fish would be able to absorb the flavors from both sides. It'll be great. Cheers!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    Thanks Kimberley!
  • Janet C
    Janet C
    I don't usually eat much sugar, so I found the recipe a bit sweet, so I would change the salt sugar ratio slightly. I was amazed at how much of the cure's flavour was absorbed. I would change the aromatics a little to suit my tastes (not big on fennel), but this was a lovely simple dish to make. Dawn, cilantro is another name for coriander leaves (aka dhanya, in the Indian recipes). I am not sure how correct it is but I heard that the way to refer to it is cilantro for the leaves and coriander for the seeds.. I still call them both coriander, though :) never heard of culantro, tho.

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