Gravlax is the Nordic way to cure raw salmon in a dry brine of salt, sugar and lots of dill. Dry brining draws out moisture, firming up the flesh and letting it absorb flavour from the salt, sugar and any aromatics you add. Here the dill is swapped for crushed fennel seeds. Get sushi-grade fish or freeze the fillet beforehand, then defrost, to kill any bacteria.


  • 4 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g sea salt flakes
  • 750g  salmon fillet, skin on
  • 1 lemon, wedged to serve


  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1-2 tsp wholegrain mustard, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp runny honey, to taste
  • 2 tsp capers, chopped
  • 2 large (500-600g) fennel bulbs, finely sliced


  • STEP 1

    Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan for a minute or until fragrant. Keep aside 1 tsp for the remoulade and coarsely grind the rest with the peppercorns using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Tip into a bowl, add the sugar and salt, and mix well.

  • STEP 2

    Lay the salmon, skin-side down, in a dish so it fits snugly in a flat layer. Sprinkle over the curing mix and rub well all over. Turn the salmon skin-side up, allowing most of the cure to fall into the base of the dish and press the salmon firmly down into the cure. Cover with clingfilm then sit a small chopping board on top with some heavy weights (unopened tins are good for this) to ensure maximum contact of fish to cure. Leave for 24-36 hours – the longer you leave the fish, the firmer it will become.

  • STEP 3

    Once the fish has finished curing, brush off as much of the cure as possible and hold under cold, running water to rinse away any residual cure, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Lay on a chopping board and, starting from the thickest end, use a very sharp knife to slice into thin slivers, leaving the skin behind. Arrange on a serving plate and chill.

  • STEP 4

    Put the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, mustard, honey and capers into a bowl and mix well. Add the fennel, reserved fennel seeds and some seasoning, and combine.

  • STEP 5

    Serve the gravlax with the remoulade and lemon wedges to squeeze over.


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