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Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish consisting of salmon marinated with dill. It originated as a pre-refrigeration method of preservation in which the raw fish was sprinkled with salt and dill and then buried in the ground (grav is Swedish for ‘grave’ or ‘pit’) for a period varying from a few days to, for a highly fermented result, as much as three months. The modern way is to keep the fish marinating in the fridge for a maximum of three days; it is then scraped free of its salt and dill, sliced thinly, and served in the manner of smoked salmon, usually with a mustard sauce (gravlaxsas). The verb grava has evolved in Swedish, meaning ‘preserve raw’, and its past participle gravad is applied not just to salmon (gravad lax is an alternative term for gravlax, lax being Swedish for ‘salmon’—compare lox): gravad makrel, for example, is a cheap alternative.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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