Beetroot-cured salmon gravlax with seed bark

This fish-curing method is centuries old and salmon on rye with crème fraîche is a catering classic. Start preparation for this dish three days ahead. Photography by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

  • 30 mins cooking
  • 96 hrs marinating
  • Serves 12
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Beetroot cure
  • 2 large fresh beetroots, peeled and grated
  • finely grated zest 3 lemons
  • 3 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup rock salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 50 millilitre gin
  • 1.2 kilogram side fresh salmon, pin bones removed
  • chopped fresh dill, parsley and micro rocket
Seed bark
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoon linseeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1/2 cup water
  • flaked sea salt (optional)
Dill cream
  • 200 millilitre crème fraîche
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon heaped grated fresh horseradish
  • 2 tablespoon chopped dill fronds


Beetroot-cured salmon gravlax with seed bark
  • 1
    To make the cure, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • 2
    Lay the side of salmon, skin-side down, on a large baking tray lined with plastic wrap and pour the beetroot cure on top. Make sure the cure covers all the salmon flesh. Wrap the salmon tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 48 hours (72 hours is preferable – the longer you leave it, the richer the colour).
  • 3
    After two or three days, unwrap the salmon to remove the cure. Gently push the cure off the fish, taking care not to tear the flesh. Pour a little cold water – no more than 100ml water – over the surface to remove any remnants. Wrap salmon in fresh plastic wrap (or lay it in a deep-sided dish and cover with plastic wrap) and refrigerate until required. I found it tasted best after 12 hours in the fridge once the cure was removed.
  • 4
    To make the seed bark, preheat oven to 160°C fanbake. In a bowl mix together the flours and seeds. Add oil and water and mix until you have a soft dough.
  • 5
    Divide dough into eight pieces. On a floured surface roll out each piece into a rough, very thin rectangle no more than 2mm thick. Carefully transfer to trays lined with baking paper. Brush or finely drizzle a little olive oil onto each and add a sprinkle of sea salt if desired. Bake in batches until crisp and starting to colour around edges (about 10-15 minutes).
  • 6
    Cool on a rack then transfer to an airtight container. Break into large shards to serve.
  • 7
    To make the dill cream, combine ingredients and refrigerate until needed.
  • 8
    When you are ready to serve, sprinkle the chopped herbs and micro rocket over the salmon along with a small dash of salt and pepper. Slice the salmon finely on an angle with a sharp knife as required. Serve with a bowl of dill cream, a good pile of seed-bark shards and a knife for spreading.


Once cured, the salmon will last in the fridge for up to a week and you can use it just like smoked salmon.

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