MY FATHER’S GRAVLAX RECIPE with My Mother‘s Exquisite Dill and Mustard Sauce



MY FATHER’S GRAVLAX RECIPE with My Mother‘s Exquisite Dill and Mustard Sauce

[Serving four]

The Curing Mixture

11 oz salt

13 oz sugar

1/2 tablespoon of ground white pepper

4 tablespoons lemon pepper

4 tablespoons fennel powder

1/2 cup dry dill

The Gravlax Sauce

6.8 oz sweet mustard

1.7 oz Dijon mustard

1.7 oz dry dill

1.7 oz honey

6.8 oz vegetable oil

3.4 oz mayonnaise

A dash of Cognac

The following is my father, Völundur Hermóðsson’s, recipe for gravlax. It has been a family secret, but I have been permitted to reveal it in this book. I learned the recipe when working with my father at the salmon fishermen’s lodge on the river Laxá (Salmon River) in the summer of 1991, and have used no other since.


Mix the ingredients, all but the dill, together most thoroughly. Fillet the salmon, but do not skin it. Arrange the fi llets side by side, skin side down. Liberally spread the prepared mixture over of the salmon meat. Stack the fillets, applying the mixture to each layer, in a tray, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and leave the salmon to cure in a refrigerator for 36 hours. When the time is up, the fillets are turned over, the tray again closed with plastic wrap and the salmon left to cure for 36 hours more.

Finish the process by scraping off excess curing mixture, and then cutting the fillets into bits of a size appropriate for each use. Wrap up those not to be used immediately and put them in a cooler or, if they are to be preserved for a long time, in a freezer.


This recipe is my mother, Halla Loftsdóttir’s. My mother and I used to spend a lot of time together, when I worked with her at the salmon fishermen’s lodge. I know that I was driving her crazy that summer with my tiresome adolescent behavior, but in spite of my unruliness, I fortunately managed to learn the recipe from her.

Mix the ingredients together thoroughly, adding the oil last. A dash of Cognac may be stirred in if desired. 

This sauce was always used with my father’s gravlax in my home. I know no other that fits it better. The gravlax is served in slices with a liberal amount of gravlax sauce on top and around the slices. More sauce is served on the side and also some toasted bread to eat with the gravlax.

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