Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger – Truly a Christmas Miracle.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (4 of 6)A Christmas Miracle, I hear you say. To answer your unasked, and possibly even unthought, question. No, I haven’t found religion. Though, there seems to be more of it about at this time of year. I will enter into the festive spirit and avoid going off on a rant about the damage organised religion seems to do to our world. Instead, I will get back in the kitchen and prepare a true miracle of flavour, texture and colour. That miracle is Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger.

A big part of the miracle is in how easy this is to prepare. The ingredients list is shorter than midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (1 of 6)-2

It’s hard to believe that so little could go such a way down the flavour road.


  • 1 piece of organic (or wild if you can get it) salmon about 600 grams weight (20 ozs)
  • 120 grams (5 oz) sea salt
  • 120 grams (5 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 beetroot (or is that beetroots or beetsroot?)
  • 5cm (2 inches) of ginger

You will also need some cling film, two shallow dishes of slightly differing size and some weights.

The process takes four days and is worth the wait. First, if needed, pin-bone the salmon. You do this by running your hand from the tail end towards the thick end. You will feel any bones. Remove these with a tweezers.

Mix together the salt and sugar. Then grate in the ginger, using a fine grater. Peel and grate the beetroot.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (3 of 6)-2

This has to be the ‘Greatest Story Ever Told’ about food preparation.

Mix the lot together.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (4 of 6)-2

How could such a mess of stuff produce such a fine end result? It’s a miracle I tell you!

Place a layer or two of cling film in the bottom of the larger of the dishes. Place the salmon in, skin side down. Pack the salmon with the mixture.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (5 of 6)-2

Lay it in like Moses was placed in the basket (not that Moses got covered in beetroot).

Wrap it tightly in cling film. Place the smaller dish on top of the salmon and place the weights on top.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (6 of 6)-2

4 tins of tomatoes helped convert this salmon to gravadlax.

Put this in the refrigerator and leave there for three days and nights (the “and nights” is a vaguely biblical reference to add weight to my claim for miracle status). Turn the salmon nightly. 

On the fourth day (see, vaguely biblical again), un-swaddle (biblical reference number three) the salmon. Rinse off the mixture.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (1 of 6)

The salmon takes on an angelic beetroot hue.

Pat dry with paper towels and carve some very thin slices.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (3 of 6)

It’s a miracle I didn’t eat it all there and then!

Next comes the truly miraculous bit. The colour, texture and taste of this is otherworldly. The flavour is a heavenly chorus (another pro-miracle reference) of salmon and beetroot followed up by a cherubic ginger glow. Serve this whatever way you want. We had it with some nice brown bread.

Gravadlax with Beetroot and Ginger (1 of 1)

If you are looking for a festive food idea. Take this as your divine inspiration.

You will be elevated to status akin to saintly by those around you. Who knows, they may all get religion and begin the process of beatification on your behalf. Now that would be a miracle.

Happy Christmas.

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  • Amazing – what an unusual combination – I’ve seen the light!
    Merry Christmas 🙂

    • Follow that star MD.
      Have a great Christmas.

      • You too – thanks Conor!

  • Hi Connor, if it only tastes half as good as it looks? But do you really have to sacrifice an awesome wild salmon for this. With this recipe you can even make a miserable farm-bred salmon nice?

    • I used an organic farmed salmon. Perfect with this stuff. The regular farmed will probably be improved by this. That is no harm either.
      Have a wonderful Christmas,

  • I’ve seen this before without the addition of ginger, though. I guess your post is the hint that I should really try it out. A Merry Christmas to you too!

    • The ginger adds another dimension to the dish. It really gives it a nice afterglow. Rather like one might feel after receiving communion, I guess, if one believes in that type of thing. I should stop now before I insult the half of the world I haven’t insulted to date!
      Have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for your lovely comments throughout the year.

      • Thanks for your lovely recipes throughout the year. They are inspiring every time!

        • Too kind. It must be the spirit of Christmas!

  • Gorgeous sunset hues! I expect there’ll be a few heavenly choirs being heard as this caresses the palate. Sorry, I can’t resist this: Ho-salmon in excelsis!

    • Kate, I knew I could depend on you for some awful yet fantastic pun action.
      I love it!
      Have a fantastic Christmas,

  • I regularly make gravadlax the usual way (salt, sugar, pepper, dill) so will give this variation a try. Doesn’t the lack of dill make it something other than gravadlax? Cured salmon with beetroot and ginger, perhaps? A. Pedant

    • Pip,
      You have been a pedant for as long as I know you, which is a very long time now. It may be that my gravad lax dill. But, it is still tasty, give it a go.
      Best wishes to you for the season,

  • It looks really beautiful. I have to confess though that I loathe beetroot. I’ll stick to your smoked salmon, which by the way is awesome.

    • There is a hint of expectation in that comment Mrs P. I am promising nothing!
      Happy Christmas,

      • Nonon0, I wasn’t on the scrounge for more – just loving what we already have, thanks. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Linda x

  • Done this with beetroot and orange but with ginger sounds really interesting. Will have to try. Thanks for the recipe. Have a great Christmas

    • The ginger really helps it along. The beetroot is more pronounced than I thought it might be. It worked very well. I’m very happy with this one.
      Happy Christmas,

  • This looks sensational!

  • Beetroots or Beetsroot it tickles haha

  • I recently found out that Boyfriend doesn’t like salmon. I have, however, been feeding it to him regularly for over three years without complaint, so perhaps I can foist this loveliness upon him as well…

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Foist away. It’s the season for giving. He must love you.
      Happy Christmas,

  • ANYTHING is shorter than midnight mass on Christmas Eve! The addition of ginger sounds really delicious.

    • Thankfully, I haven’t gone in decades.

  • Greetings from Spain.
    Your gravad lax naught and looks spectacular! Thank you for sharing.
    I prepare it regularly with the standard sugar, salt, dill mixture.
    Would you mind terribly if I told you that I shuddered when I saw your beautiful salmon going under the tap? I like to clean it gently with kitchen paper and finish off with a little olive oil which I rub on it with paper and which removes any of the remaining salt+sugar+dill mixture and also leaves a nice sheen. I then sprinkle lightly with dill and slice thinly.
    Happy Christmas!

    • Hi Brenda,
      I hope Spain is warmer than here right now. Thanks for the kind words and the advice. The tap came into play as there was a mountain of beetroot sludge to shift. The colour and flavour are set well into the meat. I really like the idea of finishing with olive oil.
      Happy Christmas to you and yours,

  • Wow Conor this is truly stunning.
    Happy Christmas to you and yours!

    • Thanks Donna,
      I had great fun doing this one.
      Have a great Christmas yourself.

  • I usually make gravadlax with vodka and while it tastes great it lacks visual wow. Been meaning to try a beetroot cure for quite a while, thanks for the reminder. Happy Christmas Conor

    • The bit of ginger gives it a nice elevation. Towards sainthood in fact!
      Happy Christmas,

  • Great post, Conor! Isn’t it interesting that even after three days (and nights!), the beetroot only penetrates the salmon about halfway? I like the combination of beetroot and ginger. This must be delicious. I have a light gewurztraminer from Alsace that would be perfect with this.
    Happy Christmas!!!

    • Thanks Stefan,
      By pure happenstance, I have a couple of bottles of Hugel gewurztraminer waiting at home too. This will be our starter wine on Christmas day.
      Best to you and Kees. Do talk to him about getting over to Ireland some time soon.
      Happy Christmas,

  • This is so pretty! I love the colours. 🙂

  • This looks fantastic Conor! The colors are incredible. I am definitely going to try this one. Love salmon and beets and the addition of ginger should knock it out of the park. You always seem to have great ideas. Happy holidays!

  • Looks lovely (and just like mine) and I love to see this Swedish Classic ending up on an Irish Christmas table. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016! 🙂

  • Look at that beautiful color. This is a dish I know my husband would absolutely love. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope you have a wonderful day.

    • Thanks Karen. We had it as a starter for our Christmas dinner today. It was delicious. I hope you and yours have a fantastic time.

  • Gorgeous make-over on good, old Salmon! Fabulous flavor waltz in every particle of our good, old Salmon!
    Thanks a billion for the pretty idea (recipe).
    And those color-bursting pictures! Lord bless your camera.
    Happy Holidays.

    • Nusrat, as ever, you bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart with your lovely comments.
      I hope you are well,

  • Very nice Conor… also goes really good with a splash of vodka in the curing mix…
    All the very best to you and yours my friend.

    • Thanks for that. The splash of vodka is traditional when done with dill. I was trying to be original. The ginger adds a nice little kick without doing any harm to the other flavours. I was very happy with it. I hope all goes as well as it looks on Facebook. Restauranting is hard work!

      • I see. Very nice either way my friend – I certainly do like to put booze in just about everything at Christmas!
        The restaurant is going better than we could’ve ever imagined cheers Conor. Certainly hard work but bloody satisfying!! 🙌😁

        • Excellent. I love your approach. Don’t go all fancy now that you are succeeding! Not that you would.

  • Looks and sounds amazing … will definitely try this one 🙂
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Sir … 🙂

    • Thanks for that. It is really easy and is a bit of a crowd pleaser. Well worth a go.
      Happy New Year to you,

  • I would have never thought of this. The look of it is simply astonishing.

    • Thanks Paul. Very simple really. Very tasty too. I have to admit that the colours are pretty special.

      • you know simplicity is usually a good thing 🙂

  • This looks fabulous – I have beetroot (and salmon in the freezer) – I think it may be a project for the weekend

    • Do give it a whirl. Don’t be shy about the ginger either. It really works well in there. Let me know how it turns out please.

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