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Gravlax with Shallot-Caper Relish

  • All Salmon
  • Appetizer
  • Sushi / No-cook
  • Raw / Cure / No-cook
  • Grace Parisi
  • Active Time:2 hours
  • Total Time:25 hours
  • Servings:8 (48 toasts)

This elegant appetizer is great for a crowd because you can make the gravlax a day or so ahead of time and assemble the toasts before your guests arrive, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the party.


  • 1 pound salmon in 2 pieces, pin bones removed Available in Our Seafood Subscription Box

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons aquavit (or vodka)

  • 1 bunch dill, coarsely chopped, divided

  • 1/2 cup finely diced shallot or red onion

  • ¼ cup drained capers

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • ⅓ cup (3 ounces) sour cream or crème fraîche

  • ¼ cup chopped chives

  • 12 thin slices Danish-style pumpernickel bread, lightly toasted



Set salmon filets, skin-side down on a plate. In a small bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, and caraway and press onto the flesh-side of salmon. Sprinkle on aquavit and top with dill. (Save 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dill for relish.) Sandwich the salmon, skin-side out. Wrap very tightly with plastic, cover with a heavy weight and refrigerate for 24 or up to 48 hours. Remove solids, pat dry, and slice thinly on an angle.


In a bowl, combine shallot, capers, lemon juice, mustard seeds and the reserved dill.


In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and chives and spread onto the toast. Cut each pumpernickel toast into 4 rectangles. Top toasts with the salmon and garnish each with a small spoonful of the relish.

Pair it Up

A dish this elegant deserves a wine to match and an off-dry Prosecco or Cava with sparkling minerality is the perfect choice.

Spice it Up

Chopped pickled jalapeños folded to the cream cheese add tangy heat.

Change it Up

Turn this elegant hors d'oeuvre into a next-day hearty brunch. Spread the cream cheese onto toasted bagels, top with gravlax and shallot-caper relish and serve aquavit bloody marys alongside.

Lighten it Up

For a low-carb, keto-friendly option, use cucumber slices in place of the pumpernickel toasts.


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