Savoring Scandinavia: Crafting Gravlax & Hovmästarsås Croustades

The Starving Chef is supported by Hungry People like you. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link on my site, I may earn a little bit of cash on the side (at no extra cost to you) to help keep my kitchen running. Read our disclosures here.

gravlax Hovmastarsas recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People!

Every week, I dive into a weekly recipe challenge, broadening our horizons and tastes. The recent Nordic theme had me puzzled for a bit. I’ll admit, diving into Nordic recipes was a challenge with the unfamiliar language, but hey, the ingredients? Totally up our alley.

Swedish Star: Gravlax

In Sweden (and its Nordic siblings), gravlax stands out as a star. It’s essentially a dry-cured salmon. The entire process? About three days. Now, while most of us would just pick up a pack from the store, trust me, making it from scratch brings out flavors that are simply unmatched.

nordic appetizer

My Personal Gravlax Craze

I’m totally into gravlax. Give me a toasted bagel with cream cheese and capers, and I’m set. So, I went the extra mile and whipped up a double batch. And guess what? Freezing works wonders with this dish. For our recipe here, a single filet will do. But just so you know, our measurements are perfect for curing about a pound of skinless salmon.

salmon for curing

Here’s What You Need:

  • Salmon: Main protein; cured for flavor and preservation; results in silky, flavorful fish.
  • Salt: Primary curing agent; draws moisture from salmon, enhancing texture and flavor.
  • Sugar: Balances salt; adds sweetness, aiding in curing and flavor enhancement.
  • Fresh dill: Imparts aromatic herbaceous notes; key for traditional gravlax flavor.
  • Dark mustard: Base for hovmästarsås sauce; brings tangy, deep flavors.
  • White vinegar: Adds acidity to the sauce; brightens and balances the mustard.
  • Cream cheese: Creamy texture; complements and contrasts with salty salmon.
  • Croustades: Crispy vessel; serves as the base for salmon and cream cheese.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Optional garnish; adds freshness, color, and a burst of juicy acidity.

Unlocking the Secrets of Curing

The mix of salt and sugar does wonders here. It’s all about curing, preserving that salmon while amplifying its taste. Throw in some dill, and we’ve got ourselves a salmon that strikes the right balance between sweet and savory.

salt and sugar for curing

Preparation Pointers

Pro tip: Once it’s all prepped, wrap that salmon tight in plastic or pop it in a baggie. With all the moisture it releases, a lined pan is a must for your fridge.

salted salmon

For that perfect texture, I use a baking sheet and stack some weighty items (like milk or OJ) to press the salmon down.

Hovmästarsås ingredients

The Magic of Hovmästarsås

Now, a day before you unveil your masterpiece, get that hovmästarsås ready. Think of it as a sweet mustard sauce. It’s versatile and pairs beautifully not just with fish, but also with poultry. So, any leftover sauce? Save it. You’ll thank me later.

nordic mustard

Serving and Savoring

When the serving day arrives, carefully unwrap your salmon. Gently scrape off the excess salt and dill. A small note: resist the urge to rinse it!

salmon with dill

A gentle rub in a circular motion does the trick to remove the dill.

cleaned salmon dill

Now, how you marry the gravlax and hovmästarsås is your canvas. I chanced upon these cool croustades (got them at a steal from a store closing sale!).


Their texture? Think wontons. Ideal to cradle our salmon. I went with thin strips of gravlax, wrapped them around cream cheese cubes, snuggled them into a croustade, and garnished with fresh dill or a cherry tomato.

And the hovmästarsås?

Drizzle or dip, your choice.

swedish appetizer

Diving into the world of Nordic cuisine with gravlax & hovmästarsås croustades has been a delightful experience. As we learned, these dishes are not just about tantalizing flavors, but also about understanding the essence of curing and preserving.

nordic appetizers

The mingling of salmon’s silky texture with the sharpness of the mustard sauce and the crunch of croustades truly takes you on a flavor adventure. And while the curing process might require some patience, the end result is worth every moment. Next time you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, remember this recipe. It might just become a new favorite among your Hungry People.

gravlax Hovmastarsas recipe

Gravlax & Hovmästarsås Croustades

The Starving Chef
Experience the essence of Nordic cuisine with cured salmon paired with a tangy mustard sauce in crispy croustades.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 days
Assemble Time 15 minutes
Total Time 3 days 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, As Seen in Mimi
Cuisine Fancy Food, Finger Food
Servings 24 croustades


  • 8 oz salmon skin removed
  • 1 cup salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • ½ cup dark mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 8 oz cream cheese cut into cubes
  • 1 package croustades
  • cherry tomatoes optional, for topping


  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of salt, ¼ cup of sugar, and ¼ cup of dill. Thoroughly coat the salmon on both sides with the salt mixture. Tightly wrap in plastic or place in a plastic bag. The salmon will release lots of liquid.
  • Place the wrapped salmon between two baking sheets and stack heavy items on top. Refrigerate for three days, or until most of the salt has dissolved and the salmon has compressed to about a half inch in thickness.
  • Remove the salmon and scrape off as much of the remaining salt and dill as possible. Thinly slice the salmon into strips approximately one inch long.
  • Cut the cream cheese into ¼ inch cubes. Wrap the salmon strips around the cream cheese cubes and then place them in a croustade.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the mustard, remaining dill, sugar, and vinegar until fully combined. Drizzle this mustard sauce over the croustades. If desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes and fresh dill.
Keyword finger food, salmon
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!