Learn the best way to cure salmon and make traditional gravlax with a dill and mustard sauce. Serve on rye bread for canapes. 


  • 2 sides of salmon, about 750g each, pin bones removed

  • 75g sea salt flakes

  • 50g soft light brown sugar

  • 40g fresh dill, stalks discarded and fronds finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper

  • rye bread, to serve

  • Dill and mustard sauce

  • 3 large free-range egg yolks

  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 300ml sunflower oil

  • 20g fresh dill, stalks discarded and fronds

  • finely chopped


  • 1.

    Wipe the salmon and check that all the little pin bones have been removed. Place one side of salmon in a long, ceramic dish, skin side down. The dish should be large enough to hold the salmon without it curling and deep enough to catch any juices that are released during the curing process.

  • 2.

    Mix the sea salt, sugar, dill and pepper in a bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the fish. Place the other piece of salmon on top, skin side up. Cover the fish with a couple of sheets of clingfilm and place a tray or a slightly smaller baking tin on top. Weigh down with several cans of beans or some old-fashioned kitchen scale weights.

  • 3.

    Place the salmon in the fridge and leave for 3 nights – make sure the temperature stays at 5°C or just under. Every day, remove the fish from the fridge. Turn it over, cover with new clingfilm, weigh it down and return it to the fridge to continue curing.

  • 4.

    When ready to serve, transfer the salmon to a clean board and discard the curing liquid. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper. Some people scrape or rinse off the dill marinade, but you don’t have to. Slice the salmon from the tail end in thin, almost horizontal pieces. Arrange on plates with crustless rye bread and top with spoonfuls of the dill and mustard sauce to serve.

  • Dill and mustard sauce:

  • 1.

    Put the egg yolks, vinegar, mustard and sugar in a food processor and season with salt and black pepper. Blitz until smooth, then gradually add the oil, with the motor still running, and blend until the sauce is smooth and thick.

  • 2.

    Add 3–4 tablespoons of cold water and blend for a few seconds more until the mixture has a soft, dropping consistency.

  • 3.

    Adjust the seasoning to taste. Add the dill to the sauce and blend quickly until just combined. Transfer to a bowl. The sauce will keep for 3 days in the fridge.


Keeps well in the fridge for up to five days once made.

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