Trout gravlax with fennel

Trout gravlax with fennel.
Trout gravlax with fennel. Photo: Danielle Smith

Gravlax has always been the ultimate kick-start to a party at my house. The home-cured trout, or salmon if preferred, is traditionally presented as a sliced half-fish fillet or twisted in knots on tiny toasts. It's an impressive starter that takes minimal skill.


400g trout fillet, skin on

Grated rind of ½ lemon

Fronds of 1 fennel, or ½ bunch dill, finely chopped

3 tbsp sea salt flakes

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp vodka


If pin bones protrude from the fish, remove using tweezers. Make a soggy mix of lemon rind, fennel fronds, salt, sugar and vodka.

Place fish in a plastic container that has a lid. Coat with the mixture, turning the fish over a couple of times to fully cover. Cover tightly with lid and place in the fridge for 20-24 hours, turning the container upside down after about 10 hours.

The fish is ready when it's soft and subtle in flavour and texture, and not overpowered by salt. Remove fish from container, place skin-side down on a board and discard mixture.

Using a sharp knife tilted across the fish, make thin slices as you would smoked salmon, cutting the flesh away from the skin. Serve with thin slices of baguette, toasted, with a mustardy mayonnaise or creme fraiche.