Graved Salmon 2 Variants Recipe

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I am happy to present you now my graved salmon recipe. We usually know the marinated salmon from the supermarket. Cleanly packed in a vacuum you can buy the fish in great quality.

However, there is much to be said for trying out salmon marinating yourself: Firstly, it is easy, secondly, the taste is irresistible, and thirdly, there is a phenomenal sense of achievement.

Please keep reading, because boredom was yesterday: For this article I even took the spade out of the cellar and show you the modern and the traditional preparation.

1. Graved Salmon, Tradition, History and How Does it Work?

The word “gravlax” can be traced back to 1348 and in its origin it means “buried salmon”. The fish, which were gutted, salted and rubbed with herbs and spices, were then buried in the ground for days or weeks to ferment.

Several points are important for success:

Firstly, it needs salt, it draws the liquid out of the fish and creates a millieu of shelf life. Germs cannot survive in this environment and the fish becomes durable.

Secondly, the fish must be “weighted down“. The weight on the fish, physical pressure, supports the osmotic pressure during “pickling” and our “salt gnomes” can do their job so well.

Marinating salmon: Salt, spices and weight on the fish creates a fantastic taste experience!

Means Chef Thomas Sixt

All right? Of course salt alone on the fish is a bit boring, so we add sugar, herbs and some alcohol to make it really exciting.

Nowadays, thank God we have refrigerators and you can actually let the pickled fish mature in the refrigerator without any problems :-). I am just a little bit crazy, so I actually buried my Gravlax in the garden. Before you can look at this madness further down, let me show you how to season and prepare the fish.

Fresh salmon fillet with skin
The salmon fillet for our gravlax, I bought two pieces for two variations of preparation.
Smoked salmon
Smoking salmon is a different way of preparation. The fish takes the fine smoke aroma, but loses its own flavor. Cold smoking is done at 15-25°C, which means that the smoking is done at 60-70°C. Fish cooks from a temperature of 32°C, an important finding in the preparation of fish.

2. Recipe Graved Salmon

Graved salmon with salad and rösti

Cooked, photographed and written down by chef Thomas Sixt.

Servings 2
Calories 382
Total Time 90 Min.
Preparation Time 2880 Min.
Cook Time 40 Min.

Simple tutorial for the easy preparation of graved salmon in two variants.

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Gravlax close-up
Graved Salmon Recipe Image © Thomas Sixt


Ingredients for pickling salmon

300 g Salmon fillet
1/4 bunch dill
20-30 g Salt
7-10 g Sugar
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 pc juniper berries
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 pc peppercorns
2 pc allspice seeds

Appetizers ingredients

5 pc beetroot
50 g lettuces
4 pc colorful cocktail tomatoes
1/2 bunch dill
2 tbs balsamico
2 pc radishes
4 pc mini cucumbers
1 pc Potatoes

General ingredients for the starter

6 pinches Salt
2-4 tbs oliv oil
2 tbs balsamico
3 tbs sun flower oil
2 tsp brown sugar


2 tbs Créme Fraîche
2 tbs Sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
4 pinches Pepper
2 pinches Salt
1/2 package sprouts


Pickle salmon

Fresh salmon fillet with skin
The salmon fillet for our gravlax, I bought two pieces for two variations of preparation.

Prepare salmon fillet

Freshly unpack salmon fillet, wash, dry, remove bones with tongs.

Prepare a suitable form for inserting the salmon or dig a hole in the garden and lay out baking paper.

Himalayan salt
An example of unrefined and pristine salt is the pink Himalayan salt.


Provide salt

Whole cane sugar
You can buy whole cane sugar in the supermarket instead of white sugar.


Provide sugar

Spices for gravlax
The spices for graved salmon in a mortar. Mustard seeds, coriander seeds, juniper, allspice and some chili.

Prepare spices

Place the spices in the mortar and lightly bump.

Gravlax refrigerator variant
For the fridge version, I have prepared the gravlax practically in an oven rack.

Marinate fish

Place the refrigerated salmon in a container.

Season from below and above and cover with foil.

Weight the fish with porcelain plates and leave to mature in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

Gravlax to dig in
For the traditional gravlax variant, to be buried in the garden, I seasoned and prepared the salmon on a large sheet of baking paper.

For burying

If you want to bury the salmon, I recommend to season the fish fillet on a baking paper, then wrap it well and bury it 50 cm deep in the ground.

Only dig out after 48 hours.

Sliced gravlax
Homemade gravlax cut open on a board.

Cutting slices

Wash the pickled salmon fillet under cold running water and dry it.

Cut into slices and put in a cool place.

Prepare starter

Balsamic marinated beetroot
Beetroot cooked attractively cut, marinated with Balsamico Gold from Gepps.

Prepare beet

Boil the beetroot until soft, peel it, cut it into eighth crescents and marinate it with balsamic vinegar.

Tomatoes marinated with black lava salt
The tomatoes marinated with Black Lava salt.

Prepare tomatoes

Cut the cocktail tomatoes in half and sprinkle with black lava salt.

Cucumber sticks
Cucumber sticks marinated with garlic and ginger salt.

Prepare cucumbers

Cut cucumbers into sticks and season with salt.

Leaf salads for the starter
The prepared green salads on a board.

Prepare salads

Clean the salad, wash and spin dry.

Sprigs of dill
Decorative dill sprigs prepared for serving.

Prepare herbs

Pluck branches of dill and place in cold water.

Starters ingredients
The prepared appetizers ingredients.

Prepare additions

Prepare the ingredients.

I had cut radishes into fine strips and added them later.

Prepare decorative potato rösti
Preparation of the decorative potato rösti in the pan.

Prepare rösti

Peel a potato and cut it into thin slices.

Cut the slices into fine julienne.

Heat a pan with sunflower oil and prepare the small Rösti.

Potato hash browns for starters
Decorative potato rösti for starters and soups.

Keep warm

Place the rösti fried crispy on both sides on a plate with kitchen paper, season with salt and keep warm in the oven at 60°C.

Dip with the gravlax
Prepare the dip

Mix dip

Mix the dip ingredients and prepare the cold sauce with the sprouts for serving.


Gravlax close-up
Graved Salmon Recipe Image © Thomas Sixt


Drape the salmon with the rose and place on plates.

Add the dip and decorate with sprouts.

Marinate the salad with a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some pepper and put it on the plate.

Add cucumber sticks, beetroot, tomatoes, radish strips and dill.

Shortly before serving, arrange the rösti with the salad and serve freshly toasted bread as an appetizer, if desired.

3. Nutritional Values

4. Spices Tips for Preparing Graved Salmon You Use?

Let’s just look at the ingredients for the stain – I prefer to use the following ingredients:

4.1 Salt

When it comes to salt, I would ask you to pause a little! Normal iodized salt or generally purified salt is pure poison for the body. The physician Dr. med. Barbara Hendel has written a book on this subject: Water & Salt – The Source of Life. In the book she describes the negative effects of using industrially purified salts in nutrition.

The commercially available purified white salts are deprived of all the minerals contained in their origin. This removal of minerals produces a pure sodium chloride which is not good for us.

The better alternative to purified salt for chemical transformation is unpurified primal salt or Himalayan salt. The positive effect of natural salt is not esoteric but a proven fact. Therefore, I only use primal salt and Himalayan salt or other unprocessed salts which are good for me and my loved ones.

Himalayan salt
An example of unpurified and original salt is the pink Himalayan salt.

4.2 Sugar

Sugar is sugar, a chemist would say, let’s take a quick look at the difference between white industrial sugar and brown raw cane sugar:

White sugar is usually obtained from sugar beets. The process is highly technical and a real achievement for mankind. Until the sugar is in the bag, the sugar beet has to endure quite a lot. The short version: Syrup is obtained from the crushed beets, which is later cleaned with lime and carbonic acid in the carbonation process. After thickening, crystallization and centrifugation take place. Then the white sugar is put into the bag and ends up in our kitchen.

Brown sugar or better whole cane sugar, is extracted from the sugar cane. The sugar syrup is only boiled down until the pure sugar is left (whole cane sugar). This sugar contains an additional 1.5-2.5% natural minerals.

Similar to salt without minerals I see it with sugar. The more natural and less processed products we eat, the better and healthier. I use 98% brown whole raw cane sugar, it tastes better and I spare myself the mineral tablets.

Whole cane sugar
You can buy whole raw cane sugar in the supermarket instead of white sugar.

4.3 Herbs

Back to marinating the fish and here are some ideas for the herbs

Dill always fits, but is used inflationary for salmon. You can use fresh or dried dill. But a little caution is required: Dried dill should be used in very small quantities, as the dill aroma spreads intensively to the fish.

Rosemary is a very strong herb, there is nothing wrong with a few tips, the dosage makes the good taste here and as a rule of thumb the saying goes: Less is more!

Fresh coriander is suitable for an Asian variety, some twigs of “stinky parsley” conjure up a fragrant aroma on the salmon. Who likes it is enthusiastic, for guests I would avoid this variant, coriander can create a full evening discussion.

The herb mixture of parsley and dill is a classic of fine cuisine and you can’t go wrong with it. On the internet you can also find variations with basil and mint. I simply say here: Please try it later, on the second try! The first try must be right, otherwise you might lose the desire to season the fish.

Lemon, lime and orange, here I use the abrasion. The citrus fruit aroma always gives the last kick to the pickled fish. Be sure to use organic products and add them at the end so that the essential oils are not lost.

Fresh dill bunch
Fresh dill is healthy and dispels anxiety. The herb goes well with all kinds of dishes.

4.4 Spices

Some spices are still needed, such as juniper berries, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and allspice are popular additions to fish mordant.

Better use less and follow the tip:

Lightly press the spices in the mortar just before pickling the fish, so that the aromas are transferred to your fish and you will certainly enjoy this taste..

Recommends Chef Thomas Sixt
Spices for gravlax
The spices for graved salmon in a mortar. Mustard seeds, coriander seeds, juniper, allspice and some chili.

5. Traditional Preparation, let Graved Salmon Ferment in the Ground

For this project, I worked hard and got the spade from the cellar. I had a short discussion with Mrs. Sixt, because the garden is small and closely cultivated. The beautiful roses must not suffer, so I first had to suggest a suitable place for this project. Everything needs its order…

The fish prepared with spices and herbs I only wrapped in paper. The plastic foil is left out in this authentic experiment. The fish burial can be seen here.

Gravlax to dig in
For the traditional graved salmon variant, for digging in the garden, I seasoned and prepared the salmon on a large sheet of baking paper.

I dug this hole and prepared it accordingly… I have dug a hole of about 50 cm deep, because it is summer and I want to avoid the negative effects of the high temperature. If you don’t have a garden, unfortunately you can’t use the flower pot, soil is soil and pot is pot 🙂

Salmon in a hole in the ground
For the real “buried salmon” preparation I put the salmon wrapped in paper into the prepared earth hole.


Now it needs patience – in 48 hours I will dig out the fish and then taste it, I am really excited about the result!

6. Marinate Graved Salmon in the Refrigerator, the Modern Version

In addition to the garden-grave-one-hole variation, I have promised you the modern “marinate in the refrigerator” method. For this I have misused my roast pork roaster. In the roaster fit then some porcelain plates to weigh down. So I can let the spiced fish filet mature optimally. Here the two photos:

Gravlax refrigerator variant
For the refrigerator version I have prepared the Graved Salmon practically in an oven roaster

7. Taste Graved Salmon Traditional/Modern Compared

Both fishes have now spent 48 in the pickling bath. The refrigerator salmon is already on the board, I have to get the soil salmon from the garden now.

Gravlax from the fridge
The refrigerator graved salmon has now matured for 48 hours.

If the experiment is successful, it could be done with guests in the near future: Not bury the guests… oh the appetizer… Sorry, I have to dig up the fish first… surely a great show!

Recommends host Thomas Sixt as “show interlude” for your next party

Here the ” soil salmon” while digging.

Salmon buried in the ground for 48 hours
The buried salmon has now matured in the burrow for 48 hours. Of course I had buried the salmon and now I had dug it up again.

The salmon fillet stained in the ground:

Buried salmon gravlax original
The salmon matured in the earth has taken on a typical colour.

The marinated salmon fillets in the kitchen:

Two varieties of gravlax
On the left you can see the pickled salmon from the refrigerator, on the right the salmon matured in the ground. Both fillets I had washed off under cold running water after 48 hours of maturing.

8. Tips for Slicing Graved Salmon

Everything looks good! So that you get your fish slices finely cut on the plate I have the tips from the professional kitchen…

Sliced gravlax
Homemade graved salmon sliced on a board.

9. Side Dish Ideas for Graved Salmon

Below the recipe you will find a variation as an appetizer with salad and thin potato rösti. I would not like to withhold some further variations from you:

Isn’t this exciting? A little fish and lots of food… Can you think of an exciting combination? Please write me a comment!

10. Arrange the Dish and Make the Plate Fine

Here are still some ideas in demand, have a look at the following pictures. I had prepared the dish as an appetizer in variations.

Gravlax starter served
Salmon rose and salad with sauce arranged starter. Photographed in portrait format.
Gravlax portrait format
Graved salmon with salad nest, dip and bread arranged on a wooden plate

11. Further Ideas


Comments, Cooking Questions and Answers

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