Recipe archive
MAIN RECIPE PAGE Back to Soups and sauces-index
Maître d'hôtel sauce

Gravlax sauce This mustard and dill-flavoured emulsified oil-based sauce, which the Swedes call hovmästarsås (= maître d'hôtel sauce) or gravlaxsås (= gravlax sauce), is a traditional accompaniment for various Nordic seafood dishes, especially gravlax.

The name "maître d'hôtel sauce" derives from the fact that in former times this type of sauce was freshly prepared by the maître d'hôtel before the diners in finer restaurants.

The sauce should not be confused with the classic French parsley and lemon flavoured beurre maître d'hôtel, or maître d'hôtel butter/sauce.

Note: following the preparation method of this recipe will produce a sauce with a deeper green colour than what is usual, due to the fact that some dill is first rubbed together with the sugar (see the top picture).

Maître d'hôtel sauce with gravlax This step also extracts more flavour from the dill. If you want the sauce to have a more traditional, yellowish colour and a less intense dill flavour, leave out the first step of rubbing the dill with the sugar and add all of the dill in the sauce only after it is finished (see the picture on right).

100 ml chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sweetish Swedish or Finnish mustard
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
100 ml oil (for example ½ turnip rape, corn, sunflower or grapeseed oil and ½ light-tasting olive oil)
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper
(a few drops of fresh lemon juice)

Take about two tablespoons of the chopped dill and rub or pound together with the sugar in a bowl or a mortar, until a green paste is formed. Stir in the mustards and the vinegar and mix until smooth.

Beating the mixture with a wire whisk, slowly start adding the oil, first a drop at a time, like in making mayonnaise. When the mixture begins to thicken and emulsify, you can start adding the remaining oil in a thin stream, whisking continually.

Maître d'hôtel sauce with gravlax Season the sauce with salt and white pepper (and a tiny dash of fresh lemon juice, if you like).

Picture on right: maître d'hôtel sauce with gravlax slices and dill.

Serve with fish or seafood, like gravlax, smoked or poached fish, cooked crayfish, shrimps, lobster, etc. Boiled (new) potatoes, crispbread and butter and beer may be served as accompaniments.
Makes about 130 ml.

Recipe source: adapted from "Hovmästarsås" by chef Henrik Mattsson (as prepared by chef Tore Wretman),, accessed 2011.


Copyright © 1997-2018 Nordic Recipe Archive