Appetizer Breakfast / Brunch Recipes

Blueberry Gravlax with Tarragon oil

July 24, 2015

Nordic cuisine has of late truly taken the culinary world by storm, thanks in large part to Noma, the Copenhagen phenomenon that has put the term ‘foraging’ on every foodie glossary and taken the No. 1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, twice. While all this fancy modernist cuisine is pretty good, I do think the Nordic’s greatest contribution to the world is gravlax, hands down.

Often the best things you can eat are the simplest and this is true of that humble and ancient recipe of cured salmon, originally made by fishermen who would salt the fish and bury it in the sand to cure. What is usually a fancy and expensive brunch item is remarkably easy to do at home, and the idea that I could do it myself had never crossed my mind until I stumbled upon this recipe.

To think that you can turn fresh salmon into a Scandinavian treat with only a simple mix of salt and sugar is mind blowing, and you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before!  The hardest part really is waiting…This recipe do call for the addition of a blueberry ‘coulis’ which couldn’t be more simple and creates a wonderful colour on the fish. I like it when my food looks good!

Unlike smoking, which dries and shrinks the fish, curing allows it to stay moist and full-bodied and it really showcases the wonderful fattiness of the fish. It’s a bit magical to see raw fish turn into this opulent appetizer, fancy bagel topping, or simple snack with so little hands-on work!


Blueberry Gravlax with Tarragon oil


Recipe adapted and translated from ELLE à Table
Active time: 15 min
Total time: 24hrs
Makes 6 servings

600g super fresh salmon
150g coarse sea salt
50g sugar
150g blueberries (or billberries if you can find them)
400ml olive oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 bunch fresh tarragon
Red wine vinegar
Rye or malted bread, for serving


Mix the salt and sugar together and pour enough to cover lightly the bottom of a glass recipient, large enough to fit your salmon fillet.

Place salmon, skin side down, and rub remaining salt mixture into top of salmon.

Puree the blueberries in a blender and pour over the salmon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Scrape the mixture off salmon.

Using a knife with a long thin blade, thinly slice salmon diagonally at 45-degree angle from top of fillet toward skin.

In a blender, mix well the oil, garlic, tarragon (washed, dried, and chopped), a bit of salt and pepper and a filet of red wine vinegar.

Serve the salmon over rye or malted bread covered with the garlic/tarragon oil.

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  • Theresa Douglas July 31, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    What a gorgeous and fresh presentation. I can’t WAIT to try this. It looks absolutely luscious.

  • Lou July 31, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Looks so delicious !!!

  • Dave August 24, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    How long does it last refrigerated before unsafe to eat?

    • Sandra August 24, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Dave. It depends on the quality of the fish you started with (should be sushi grade!). A good rule of thumb is only a few days so you should eat your gravlax within 3-4 days after it’s been cured, throwing it if you start detecting any off odors.

      • Dave August 24, 2016 at 6:54 pm

        That was a fast reply, thanks Sandra. I live in French Creek B.C. on Vancouver Island on the Strait of Georgia. At the International fish plant blocks away the fish were flopping around shortly before I buy the fillets so I guess it should last the maximum time in a cold fridge. I asked because your recipe looks fantastic with all the ingredients in season and on hand in my fridge except the fresh salmon fillet (mine are all frozen) . Dry brine, no liquid brining involved? I like to try new ideas and live alone so I can only eat so much fish at a time so I guess I can slice it, lay it out separated on a cookie sheet and flash freeze it for later.
        I’m off to the wharf, thank-you for the recipe.