Food & Drink

Citrus gravlax of ocean trout

Take a few slices of dill-flecked gravlax a little red onion, horseradish cream and some caper berries and you’ve got one of my favourite classic combinations. Curing a side of trout or salmon can seem daunting, but it’s so simple to prepare and all the hard work happens in the fridge while you’re doing more important things.

I’ve been making gravlax for most of my career and it’s found places on my menus in its simplest form and also on more refined plates. It’s usually on our table at a party or celebration and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. I find the citrus adds a lightness to the cure, where a heavy salt cure can take a bit of brightness out of the flesh, this method keeps it super fresh and lively. I prefer to use ocean trout to salmon, but either will work well. It will keep, wrapped tightly, in the fridge for a week to ten days, making it ideal for a quick snack or light lunch.

Serves: many as part of a feast
Difficulty: easy
Prep time: 15mins (approx.), allow 20mins if you need to pin bone
Total time: 25mins (approx.) + 24hrs curing time
Main ingredients: ocean trout or salmon, dill, salt, citrus

  • 10 grams coriander seeds
  • 5 grams white peppercorns
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 140 grams salt flakes
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 1 side of ocean trout (or salmon), skin on, trimmed and pin-boned (your fishmonger can do this for you)
  • ½ bunch dill chopped
  • Dijon mustard

Roughly crush the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Combine with the salt, sugar, citrus juices and zest.

Thoroughly coat the fish in the curing mix and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning once after twelve hours.

Once ready, remove from the cure and wipe the fish down with paper towel. Brush the flesh side of the trout with a fine layer of Dijon mustard, then coat with the chopped dill. You can serve the gravlax straightaway, but it will be easier to cut the fish, leaving the dill intact, if it has been wrapped tightly in cling film and left in the fridge for a couple of hours.

To serve, slice thinly and serve with crostini and some, or all, of the classic accompaniments: crème fraiche, chopped boiled egg, diced red onion, cucumber ribbons, horseradish cream and caper berries.

– Karen Martini