Recipe by Chef Chris Watson of Luxe­-mbourg St Kilda

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Ocean Trout Gravlax:

Technically speaking, gravlax is a dish made with salmon. The name comes from the Scandinavian words gräva (grave) and lax (salmon). Traditionally, fishermen buried the salmon in sand (hence the grave part), just above the line of high tide to undergo a light fermentation process. This process is probably not desirable or achievable for most people – especially not on St. Kilda beach. These days we use different (and slightly more hygienic!) methods to achieve a similar result of curing. My recipe uses ocean trout rather than salmon. In my opinion has a superior flavour to salmon, and it has characteristics that make it perfect for curing and air-drying for a length of time (i.e. it has a high enough fat content).

Now, while a four day process might seem daunting, it’s incredibly easy and really involves very little work. Just a little bit of time. Most gravlax recipes don’t call for the drying time afterwards. Much like dry aging beef, this process will improve flavour and provide a firmer texture for your fish. A side of trout will easily serve 10 people as a starter, so if you’re looking to feed a large group of people, this recipe is perfect. Keep the accompaniments simple – fresh rye bread, pickles and maybe some sour cream, then all you need to do to serve is slice the fish and let your guests help themselves.


1 side of ocean trout, cleaned & pin boned (around 1.2kg)

60g table salt

60g caster sugar

30 ml (1 shot) gin

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 bunch dill, picked and finely chopped


Mix the table salt and caster sugar together.

Lay a piece of cling film down on a workbench, about twice the length of the fish so you can fold half back over the top to cover it. Sprinkle half of the cure mix onto one side of the cling film. Place the ocean trout on top of the cure, skin side down. Apply the rest of the cure mix to the trout, then cover tightly with the cling film. Place in a large tray, and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Remove the trout from the fridge. Unwrap, and wash under cold running water to remove the cure. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Place the trout, skin side down on a wire cake rack, set over a large tray.

Pour the gin over the trout. Rub it in with your hand to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Sprinkle the pepper evenly over the trout, and finally cover with the chopped dill.

Return the trout to the fridge (on the wire rack) this time uncovered. Allow to dry for at least 3 days, or up to 5. After drying, the trout can now be wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge for a few more days or, ideally, vacuum sealed and stored for up to 2 weeks.



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