Give the Nordic dish gravlax a festive twist to serve as a simple, pre-ahead starter or even as a canapé on the big day. Try Philippa Davis' home-cured salmon with sherry, dill and cranberries


Salmon is a Christmas day essential. But try something a little different this year, with a festive twist on the Nordic dish gravlax. Philippa Davis’ home-cured salmon with sherry, dill and cranberries is a fantastic starter that can be made ahead to reduce any panics on Christmas day. Or serve it as a canapé, just ensure it is accompanied by a glass of chilled, dry sherry.

Canapés are guaranteed to go down a treat at your annual festive knees-up. For more Christmas canapé inspiration, read our three best Christmas canapé recipes.


This seasonal twist on gravlax is a suitably luxurious prep-ahead starter or could even be served as a canapé. The salmon needs to be sushi grade.

Serves 6 as a starter

  • 800g salmon, skin on bones out
  • 120g coarse sea salt
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 150g fresh cranberries, medium chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly milled black pepper
  • 50g dill, chopped, plus 2 tbsp extra to serve
  • 3 tbsp sherry

Dill sauce

  • 2 tsp finely chopped dill
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill

For the sauce, mix all the ingredients together then keep in the fridge.

For the salmon, in a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, cranberries, pepper, dill and sherry together.

Scatter a quarter of the salt mix in a dish, place the salmon skin side down on it and then spread the rest over the top.

Cover with cling film and place a weight on top (a dish and some tin cans will do).

Leave out at room temperature for about one hour (to let the salt and sugar start to dissolve) then place in the fridge for 20 hours, pouring off any liquid after 12.

Brush off the mix and rinse lightly with water and pat dry.

To serve, slice as you need, a little thicker than smoked salmon, and serve with a sprinkle of dill, the mustard sauce and slices of brown bread. This is extra delicious when accompanied by a glass of chilled dry sherry.