Greenwich restaurateur Guy Awford, inspired by Scandi-style’s moment in the sun, creates a beautiful salmon gravad lax

New Nordic Cuisine, with its hay-infused oils and deep-fried mosses, signifies a new direction for Scandinavian cookery. Frugal by nature, this effortlessly cool cuisine, based around small-scale farming, fishing, foraging and artisan producers, is as à la mode as it gets. Essentially, ‘purity, simplicity and freshness’ is the order of the day, which sits well with our relatively newfound enthusiasm for seasonal foods.

It is, however, important not to lose sight of the fact that Old Nordic Cuisine is pretty good too. Over time, their short growing season, limited harvest and cold climate has moulded a very distinct type of fare. As gravad lax – the classic dish of cured salmon made by fishermen during the Middle Ages – demonstrates, there is nothing frilly, fancy or fussy about their food. This is a clean, precise and intelligent use of nature’s raw materials.

To make the mustard dressing for this salmon gravad lax recipe, put one tablespoon each of chopped dill, English mustard, white wine vinegar and sunflower oil into a jar. Add two tablespoons of crème fraiche and a teaspoon of caster sugar and shake vigorously. Leave to stand and shake again to emulsify before serving.

Salmon Gravad Lax with Mustard Sauce

  • Prep Time 20
  • Serves 10


1 side loch Duart salmon – skin on, cut in half
1 bunch dill – finely chopped stalks and leaves
240ml salt
240ml sugar
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
1 orange, juice and zest
1 beetroot, peeled and grated
Lay the two pieces of salmon (skin side down) side by side on a sheet of cling film. Pour over the orange juice and evenly sprinkle on the dill, beetroot and orange zest
Mix together the salt, sugar and spices to form a dry cure and spread a thick layer on the flesh side of each fillet
Sandwich the fillets together (keeping the skin side on the bottom and top) and wrap tightly in several layers of cling film
Place on a deep tray, cover with a smaller tray, and weigh down lightly with a few cans. The cure will pull out the moisture from the fish so beware of leakage
Store in the fridge for 24 hours then turn the sandwich over, weigh down again and store in the fridge for another 24 hours
Remove from the cling film, rinse off the cure then slice each fillet at an angle of about 45 degrees, cutting the flesh away from the skin. The slices should be slightly thicker than for smoked salmon, and each slice should be edged with dill
Serve with the mustard sauce, lemon wedges and rye bread

By Guy Awford

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