Gravlax with Sour Cream and Dill Sauce

You will need to start this recipe one day ahead.


  • 500g Khoi San coarse sea salt
  • good grinding of black pepper
  • 400g light brown sugar
  • 250ml fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 60ml vodka
  • 2 tbsp juniper berries, coarsely crushed
  • 1kg salmon fillet, skin on and pin-boned

Mix salt, pepper, sugar, dill, vodka and juniper berries in a bowl. Place two sheets of plastic wrap—long enough to enclose salmon in—overlapping by half, on a counter top, spread with half of salt mixture. Place the salmon skin-side down on top of the mixture, and cover the fish with remaining salt mixture. Wrap tightly in plastic, then place on a large deep tray. Top with a smaller tray or board and weigh down with food cans. Refrigerate for 12 hours. Remove weights, turn the plastic-wrapped fish over, replace tray and weights, and refrigerate for another 12 hours. 
To serve, unwrap gravlax and wipe clean of salt mixture. Using a thin, sharp knife, thinly slice gravlax and serve with sour cream and dill mixture, rye bread, and lemon wedges.

 Sour Cream and Dill Sauce

  • 8 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • good grind of black pepper
  • good pinch of lemon zest, grated
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together well. Cover with cling film and place in fridge until needed.

Enjoy this recipe with one of South Africa’s best wines, go to

Photography by C&D Heierli • Recipes by Diane Heierli