Gravadlax is something that spells Christmas to me. Maybe because my grandmother was Scottish or the English traditions surrounding my Christmas’s growing up, but its the kind of thing that is perfect to eat around the festive season or serve as a starter with your feast. I’ve made a delicious salmon gravadlax cured with beetroot and dill in the past, so with this recipe for tuna gravadlax I’ve added juniper berries to give it a slight twist. 

Tuna gravadlax with juniper & dill on butternut rosti

I bought a freshly caught loin of tuna from Oranjezicht Farmers Market and made the cure of sugar, salt, dill and crushed juniper berries in a few minutes. This really is one of those super low effort things to make where time does all the work.  Who doesn’t need that in December?

I’ve left the butternut rosti fairly plain in terms of flavour because the tuna and horseradish add so much, and these little canapes are finished off with sliced Mediterranean cucumbers – crunchier for me and better tasting then English cucumbers, and radishes. Microgreens (I particularly like beetroot here) look so pretty for the garnish, but rocket would also be delicious. 

Tuna gravadlax with juniper & dill on butternut rosti

Tuna gravadlax with juniper & dill on butternut rosti

Tuna gravadlax with juniper & dill on butternut rosti

Recipe – serves a lot of people as a starter

Tuna Gravadlax with juniper & dill – make in advance

  • 1 loin of tuna about 500g – 700g
  • 8 juniper berries crushed in a pestle & mortar
  • 20gm dill finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown or white sugar (use 1/2 a cup of the tuna is a bigger piece)
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt (use 1/2 a cup of the tuna is a bigger piece)

Mix all the cure ingredients together and paste this all over the tuna. Wrap the tuna in a double layer of cling film and then place this in a flat appropriately sized dish in the fridge and weight the fish down with bags of beans or tins.

After 24 hours unwrap it and drain off any of the liquid. Wrap it up again and leave for a further 24 hours, then once again drain off any liquid and you are good to serve.

Slice the thinnest possible slices you can off the tuna and serve on top the butternut rost with the horseradish creme fraiche or on melba toast with cream cheese. garnish 

Butternut rosti – make when you are ready to serve

  • +- 700g butternut trimmed, deseeded & grated
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • pinch of cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • olive oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 180C / 35 F

Grate the butternut on the coarse side of the grater or use a grater blade in a food processor. There should not be too much liquid released, but if there is, squeeze this out in a clean tea towel. 

Mix in the cornstarch and toss to coat the butternut then add the egg, parsley, cumin, salt & pepper. 

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Scoop up small mounds of the mixture – about a heaped tablespoon, and dollop into the pan in mounds. Fry on both sides until golden then transfer to an oven dish and put in the oven for about 10 minutes to cook through. Carry on frying in batches and cooking in the oven until you are ready. These are good to serve at room temperature so can be made a little in advance.

Horseradish creme fraiche

  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 – 2 Tbs store bought creamed horseradish sauce (depending on how strong you like it)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Garnish with sliced Mediterranean cucumber, sliced radish micro leaves and lemon wedges on the side.

Mix the horseradish creme fraiche and adjust seasoning to taste. 

For more Christmas recipe inspiration, check out my round up of a few of my favourites from the blog.

Tuna gravadlax with juniper & dill on butternut rosti




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  1. Sam this is stunning! I’ve only had Salmon gravadlax, but tuna sounds lovely too! I really want to do more of my own curing, I’m going to have to check this out.

    Wonderful photos!

  2. Such great pictures! I love the styling you did with the food. Thanks so much for sharing! I am going to make this at home soon.

  3. Sam

    Thanks so much Billy, I hope you enjoy this

  4. Sam

    I hope you like it Isadora, its very easy to make

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