Bourbon & coriander seed gravadlax

by Angela Clutton

An easy-to-make alternative to smoked salmon

Cure salmon for 2-3 days with bourbon, orange zest, coriander seeds and dill to give delicious, silky slices of salmon that are really versatile, whether on rye for lunch, as a canapé or starter, or with scrambled eggs. Read more about curing here.


1.2kg very fresh salmon fillet
50ml bourbon
1 tbsp mixed peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
70g course sea salt
70g unrefined caster sugar
40g dill, roughly chopped
1 orange
4 tins of food for weights


Run your hand over the salmon to check for bones and use tweezers to remove any. Trim off any very thin ends on the fish—they will overcure and be inedible. They can be used in a fish pie or fish stock.

Cut the salmon in half and sit the pieces side-by-side, skin side down, in a large piece of foil. Pour the bourbon over the salmon, rubbing it in gently.

Crush the peppercorns and coriander seeds, then mix them in a large bowl with the salt, sugar and dill.

Cut 6 broad strips of peel off the orange, taking as little white pith as possible. Put 3 strips on each piece of salmon, giving the peel a squeeze to get its oils going. Smear the cure mixture of salt etc all over one piece of the salmon. Lift up the other piece and sit it on top of the cure, skin-side up—the cure is effectively sandwiched between the two flesh sides of the fish. Make sure any exposed bits of salmon get some cure over them.

Wrap tightly in the foil and sit in a baking dish with a chopping board on top and the tin cans on top of that to weigh it down. Put in the fridge for 2-3 days (at the lower end of the time if it’s a thin tail piece). Turn the parcel over occasionally to ensure even distribution of the cure.

Unwrap the parcel and scrape off the salt etc. Slice and serve in any way that you would smoked salmon. It is especially good on bread that has been spread with a little mustard or with some tarragon mayonnaise dolloped on top.

Unsliced and wrapped in clingfilm, the cured salmon will keep for a week in the fridge. It also freezes well.

ALTERNATIVE: Instead of bourbon try sweet vermouth.

Recipe: Angela Clutton