Cafe Society

Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Dilled gravlax

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.

If you've been to the seafood counter at the market recently, you've no doubt noticed that wild king salmon is now in season -- and that's a good reason to spend some time in the kitchen making gravlax. The fish, with its vibrant orange flesh, rich flavor and healthy fats, is ideal for gravlax, says Barb, and her recipe, she insists, is easy, even if you need to start the process a few days in advance. "Make this for Mother's Day brunch, or just enjoy it with friends and a little glass of icy cold gin from Leopold's," she suggests.

Dilled gravlax

*Note: Start the gravlax at least three days in advance.


One 2 to 3 pound salmon filet, pin bones removed and scaled 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice 3 tablespoons dry gin 1 cup kosher salt 1 cup white sugar 2 tablespoons cracked white peppercorns 1 1/2 tablespoon toasted fennel, crushed 1 1/2 tablespoon toasted coriander, crushed 3 bunches fresh dill, rinsed and dried 1 white onion, peeled and sliced thin


Capers, cream cheese, crispy dark rye crackers or bread


1. Lay the fillet out on the counter, and with a sharp knife, cut down the center lengthwise. 2. Place fillet in a glass baking dish, and pour in gin and lemon juice. Soak both sides of the fish. 3. Add salt, sugar, pepper, fennel and coriander, and rub spice mixture on both sides of the fillet. 4. Stack fresh dill and onion on the fillet, press the flesh together, and wrap fairly tightly in plastic wrap. 4. Refrigerate for at least 3 days, turning every day. 5. Serve with garnishes.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog and Marczyk Fine Wines.