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Pickled Salmon as Appetizer (Gravad Lax style)


An easy way to create a tasteful appetizer, similar to the way it is done in Scandinavia or Northern Germany. Preferably you want to use wild caught salmon when it is available or catch-it yourself. The usual caveats when you deal with fresh fish apply. Process it immediately. I had good experience with wild Alaska sockeye salmon which is frozen for a while before it comes into the shop.















1 piece red sockeye salmon
fillet; ideally frozen before, process without delay
1 bunch dill weed, fresh
don't save on fresh dill; the dill gives the special flavor; cut in small pieces
1 piece oranges
should be organic,( not treated with any poison) as you use the skin; 2 mandarins (tangerines) do the job, too
3 ounces sugar
the ratio 3/2 for sugar/salt is important when you scale
2 ounces salt
the ratio 3/2 for sugar/salt is important when you scale
3 pieces cloves, whole
Crunch all spices together in a mortar
2 pieces juniper berries
Crunch all spices together in a mortar
2 tbsp mustard seeds
Crunch all spices together in a mortar
3 pieces allspice
Crunch all spices together in a mortar


Tools and dishes:

Have two large plates ready which can carry the entire fillet and one of them in addition can keep the brine which develops during the pickling process. Have accordingly space in the fridge or a cool room available. A very sharp kitchen knife is recommended for the final steps.


Mix salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the crunched spices. Add the pealed orange (or tangerine) skin in small pieces, and the finely cut dill. Finally add additional flavor like a splash of cognac, whiskey or whatever you like. Thoroughly stir the mixture.


Put the fillet with the skin down on the plate. Distribute across the fillet the mixture.

Rest time:

Cover the plate with and let it rest for 24 hours in the fridge or an equally cool place.

Final preparation:

You might not expect when you do this the first time how much brine has developed throughout the pickling process. Take the fillet out, place it remove the spices, and distribute the remaining dill. Then cut thin slices and remove these slices while cutting from the skin.

Serving: You can serve it as such on small plates. It pairs very well with a piece of Pumpernickel and some butter on it; a glass of white wine or champagne might perfect the set-up.


* not incl. in nutrient facts

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