Beetroot gravad lax

Raw cured salmon is truly delicious – more so than fresh salmon in my humble opinion.  If you’ve had it from the supermarket, you really do need to try the real thing – a delicacy combining richness and subtlety, sweetness with a hint of spice and the wonderful flavour of fresh dill.  In this case, it’s a recipe including both beetroot (for the gorgeous purplish tinge as much as flavour) and fresh horseradish too to add a touch of heat to the mix.

Needless to say, the best quality, freshest salmon is essential for this dish.  Wild salmon would add a gamier flavour, though farmed is fine.

It’s not difficult to do, but part 2 of the story comes after 4 days.  The finished product is tinged beetroot red, is firm, slices easily and tastes divine!  It has the depth of flavour you would expect, so give it a whirl!

PS. Turns out my dad used to love making gravad lax.  Like father, like son!


  • A large filleted tail piece of salmon, halved lengthways, skin left, pin bones removed with tweezers
  • Plain vodka
  • Granulated sugar
  • Sea salt flakes (I used Maldon smoked salt)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (I cracked it in a pestle & mortar)
  • large bunch of dill, roughly chopped
  • Raw beetroot, grated
  • Fresh horseradish, grated


  1. Line a dish big enough to hold the salmon with a double layer of aluminum foil (I used the same dish I use for making lasagne).
  2. Put the salmon pieces in the dish, skin down & rub with a little vodka.
  3. Mix together the sugar, salt, pepper, dill, beet and horseradish.  Spread over the salmon.
  4. Pour the rest of the vodka over the fish
  5. Put one piece of salmon (skin up) on top of the other.
  6. Pull the foil up around the fish, then put some weights on top (I used tins of beans!)
  7. Refrigerate and let cure for 3-4 days, turning occasionally. Liquid will seep out of the salmon, which you can discard
  8. Remove the foil and scrape the cure and the skin off both pieces of fish.
  9. Slice thinly and serve with brown bread and butter, plus some sweet dill mustard and maybe salad as a starter or snack.
  10. Use as needed, then wrap and keep in the fridge for a week.  It also freezes well.


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