Beetroot Cured Salmon Gravlax

Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish of salmon that has been cured with a mixture of dill, sugar and salt, which draws out moisture from the salmon giving it a firmer texture (similar to cold-smoked salmon) and gives it a wonderful, delicate flavour. I’ve added beetroot which adds a subtle earthy flavour and makes it a brilliant intense pink colour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Curing Time 2 days
Course Appetizer and Starters
Servings 16
Calories 180 kcal



  • 2 sides fresh salmon skin on whole sides
  • 2 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ¼ cup dill chopped
  • ¼ cup tarragon leaves chopped
  • 1 ½ large beetroot coarsely grated (you can leave the skins on)

To serve

  • horseradish crème *see recipe below
  • crostini or blini


  • Lay one salmon fillet on a large dish or plate, skin side down. Mix salt, sugar, dill, tarragon and beetroot together and pack mixture onto flesh side of the salmon. Place the other piece of salmon on top, so that the two pieces sandwich the beetroot mixture and the skin is facing out. Wrap securely with cling film and place another plate/dish on top. Weigh down with something heavy e.g. a cast iron pan or chopping board. Place in the fridge to cure for 2-3 days. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of liquid that leaks out – this is normal. Once a day, pour off the liquid carefully, turn over the ‘salmon sandwich’ and place back the weights.
  • Remove the cling film and pour off any more liquid that has leaked out during the curing process. Brush off the curing mix – your salmon will be a beautiful deep pink colour, and the texture will be much firmer.
  • Remove the skin from the salmon using a long sharp knife. The salmon is now ready to be used. Slice very thinly to serve with crackers and horseradish crème (see recipe below) or in a simple salad with potatoes, watercress and radish. The salmon gravlax will keep in the fridge for up to a week.


*Horseradish crème – Mix ¼ cup light cream cheese, 2-3 tablespoons crème fraiche, 1 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish, finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon, 1 teaspoon chopped dill and 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives.
Gravlax is one of my favourite canapes – it never fails to impress on looks and taste. Two sides of salmon is quite a lot, so you can make half the recipe with one side of salmon if you wish – just halve the quantities of ingredients, and cut the one side of salmon in half and sandwich the two halves together. The salmon is great with a horseradish cream – see below for a recipe!