Appetizers/ Fish & Seafood

Dill-Cured Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon (Gravlax)

I am a very picky person when it comes to cafes, eating out, and the people working in these places. In general, places that leave a customer with the desire to return are becoming fewer and fewer nowadays. There is, however, a Farmer’s Market in our town that I like to go to for lunch and buy seafood for my family.

Everything looks simple, but there is an incredible variety of fish and different kinds of seafood that you can buy there. Everything is so fresh and appetizing.  Joe, the man running this business, really cares about his customers and is always putting his love into every package he sells. You can always find new products in his market because he is never afraid to try new things. I bought blowfish tails from this man—that is certainly not something you see in every store. You can buy cooked food for lunch—unadorned but delicious—for a very affordable price.

He is always attentive to his customers, and he’s a pleasant person to speak with. He does not just offer food on the plate he is serving you—he offers you his warmth and care with it, as well. I wish there was a Joe in every neighborhood. Here is a recipe of the Dill-Cured Salmon (Gravlax) made from the Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon I bought at Madara’s Seafood.

DILL To Avert the Evil Eye from THE SPICE COOKBOOK 1964

Dill beds must surely have been weeded and watered anxiously by medieval gardeners. Not only did this herb bring an intriguing aroma to foods, but it was considered a powerful ingredient in magic potions, as well as in those that were antimagic! It could work either way. When sorcerers gathered together to stir up a pot of trouble for someone, they included dill to make their concoction more potent. If, however, the intended victim got an inkling that he was being hexed, he too hastened to his dill patch. ”Here holy Vervain and here Dill,” says the old rhyme, ”Gainst witchcraft much availing.” No record seems available as to whether dill magic or dill antimagic was stronger, so the partisans of both sides must have relied on ”getting there fastest with the most.”

Even when there was no witchcraft afoot, there still might be the Evil Eye. To make oneself invulnerable against it, nothing was considered better than carrying a bag of dried dill over the heart. The Evil Eye – as encyclopedias explain – was, supposedly, the art of “fascination,” which gave some people the power to bewitch, injure, or kill merely with a glance. Since the Evil Eye has always been most malevolent in the lands around the Mediterranean, it is fortunate, indeed, that dill grows wild (and abundantly) there and in parts of Asia Minor.

In modern times dill has been most famous for perking up pickles. Some 250 years ago, essayist Addison wrote: “I am always pleased with that particular time of year when it is proper for the pickling of dill and cucumbers.”

Dill comes in whole only. It is a delicious addition to sour-cream sauces, green beans, cabbage, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, potato salad, or a macaroni and cheese casserole.

Gravlax is usually served as an appetizer, sliced thinly, and accompanied by a mustard sauce, either on the bread of some kind or with boiled potatoes.

Dill-Cured Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon (Gravlax)

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Serves: Serves 12


  • 1 side of the best quality wild salmon, skin left on
  • 1 large bunch dill, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons pink peppercorns left whole
  • the rind of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt ( I used Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 3 tablespoons cognac or vodka ( I used Scotch, and it brings more taste)



Mix dill, lemon rind, peppercorns, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Lay salmon out on a flat dish and press mixture onto the fish, patting it down firmly as you go.


Slowly pour the liquor over the fish, then cover with plastic wrap.


Place in the fridge for 48 hours, turning every 12 hours.


Slice thinly and serve with mustard.

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  • Reply
    Rebecca Subbiah
    December 28, 2011 at 2:57 am

    wow love this and what a color

    • Reply
      August 29, 2022 at 5:27 pm

      I bought fresh sockeye salmon from my fish monger, and made gravlax from it, and ate some before discovering it wasn’t flash frozen…how likely are there parasites in sockeye salmon? Should I be concerned?

      • Reply
        Yelena Strokin
        August 30, 2022 at 8:18 pm

        No worries, salt is good for preserving fish. I hope you like the recipe.

  • Reply
    December 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    This looks AMAZING!

  • Reply
    Magic of Spice
    December 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    This would make a beautiful party appetizer!
    Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Your photos and history of dill and the ambience of your local market riveted my attention. (Hope my "audibles" didn't disturb you — I was imagining that this must TASTE as wonderful as it LOOKS!) Thanks for a stellar post — buzzed! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 30, 2011 at 9:30 am

    We always serve gravat salmon on Christmas morning, but I've never made it myself. Wonderful recipe, thank you so much for sharing!

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