Cured salmon is one of the foods often enjoyed as part of the Scandinavian kitchen. There are many variations to it, however the basics you will need are sugar and salt. The whole process is based on the reaction called osmosis, and is an ancient way of preserving foods that wouldn’t last fresh for long otherwise. During the curing, you will notice a lot of liquid will be drawn out of the fish. The cured fish will last in the fridge for few weeks, however I doubt you will have anything left for that long.
2 raw beetroot, grated
500g piece of fresh salmon
50g table salt
90g caster sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
a bunch of fresh dill
1. Dry roast the mustard seeds, until fragrant and popping. Cool, and crush together with the peppercorns with pestle and mortar. Mix together with salt, sugar and finely chopped dill.
2. Place a large piece of cling film to cover the dish you’re using for your curing. Place half of the raw, grated beetroot at the bottom. Then add half of the mixture of the other ingredients.
3. Add the piece of salmon on top of the beetroot and sugar / salt mixture. Leave the skin on the fish.
4. Add the salt / sugar mixture and the beetroot on top of the fish too.
5. Tightly pack the fish and curing mixture. I used three different layers of cling film, however some of the liquid will still seep through. Place something to act as weights on top of the fish, and put in to fridge.
5. About every 12 hours (or every morning and evening), turn the fish upside down. I also change the direction my weights are, to try to ensure they are covering as much as possible during the process.
6. After two days, your fish is ready. Drain all liquid, and wipe the fish piece clean.
I find steaming a really good way to get salmon cooked in a way that it’s not over cooked, but very juicy and soft inside. It’s also very convenient if you have a tiered steamer pot. My one has three tiers: the bottom one is where the water goes, and I might often cook the potatoes in the bottom tier, then depending on what else you cook you can use one or two steamer tiers. I’ve accompanied my salmon with boiled new potatoes, steamed broccoli and peas, and avocado / tomato / onion salsa.
200g new potatoes
2 salmon fillets, 125g each
1 small broccoli
1 dl frozen peas
1 avocado, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp capers
1. Wash the potatoes, and bring to boil in salted water. Boil on medium temperature for 15 minutes. Season the salmon with salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Prepare the salsa by chopping the avocado, tomatoes and onions, then add the lemon juice and capers. Place in the fridge whilst other ingredients are cooking.
2. Add the tier of broccoli and boil / steam for 5 minutes. Add the peas together with the broccoli. On another tier, also add the salmon at the same time as peas. Steam for 5 minutes.
Mondays in our household normally mean fish or seafood for dinner. I have to confess I’m much more comfortable cooking a carnivore’s feast rather than a fish dish. I’ve been lately getting more experimental with fish however, and here’s today’s recipe for Fish Florentine. I was a little bit nervous with this recipe, as I would never have put fish and cheese together, but it actually worked really well!
2 fillets of white fish (I think cod is best for this kind of dish)
3 large chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
splash of olive oil
1 tsp ground paprika
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
2tsp potato flour or cornflour
1dl grated gruyere cheese
1tbsp grated parmesan cheese
250ml dry white wine (I usually use Sauvignon Blanc in cooking)
2tbsp chopped parsley
1tsp dried tarragon
1. Heat oil and butter, cook onion until soft. Add thinly sliced mushrooms and garlic. Fry, stirring occasionally, for few minutes and add spinach. mix together until spinach is wilted.
2. Heat milk in a pan, and add all ground spices. when the milk is starting to simmer mix the potato flour / cornflour with a splash of water, and pour into the milk. Stir until the mixture thickens. Add both cheeses.
3. Poach the fish in a frying pan with the white wine and herbs for 4-6 minutes.
4. Put the onion, mushroom and spinach mixture at the bottom of an oven proof dish. Lay the fish on top, and pour the sauce over everything. sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, and grill under preheated grill until starting to brown and bubble over.
This cod dish is pretty good, easy cooking for those days when you’ve been working late, and just want to quickly get on with it when you get home. Cod itself can normally be quite a tasteless fish in my mind, and buying it smoked makes a nice change. I might also swap it to smoked haddock, which works well too. I would say this recipe can work for anything between 2-4 people, depending on the diners’ appetite!
3 medium to large potatoes
300ml vegetable stock
3 handfuls of chopped kale
2 large smoked cod fillets
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1. Peel and cut the potatoes into fairly small chunks. Place in a pan, and boil in the stock for 5 minutes, covered with a lid.
2. If the chopped kale pieces are large, you may want to chop them more finely. Stir in the kale and butter, and lower the temperature to simmer. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
3. Place the fish pieces on top of the potato – kale mixture. Simmer gently, steaming the fish for 7-8 minutes.
4. Carefully remove the fish. Coarsely mash the potatoes and kale together, and mix the mustard in. Season with salt and pepper.
En papillote cooking is an easy, mess-free and quick way of cooking food. You basically place all the ingredients per portion inside one parcel, which each diner will then have.
2 salmon fillets (about 125g each)
6 tbsp frozen peas (3 tbsp on each portion)
1/2 leek, sliced (split in two parcels)
4 tbsp crème fraiche (2 tbsp per parcel)
2 tbsp tarragon or parsley, finely chopped (1 on each parcel)
dash of black pepper
dash of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F. Remove peas from the freezer. The fish will cook quickly, so it might be better if the peas have defrosted a little bit.
2. Take 2 large non-stick baking parchment sheets. Place the salmon pieces on the sheets, at around 1/3 from front, leaving 2/3 at the back, so that you will be able to fold it on top. Season with salt and pepper. Add the leeks, peas, crème fraiche and herb.
3. Bring over the baking paper, to cover the fish. The front edges should be together. Roll until it reaches the fish. Then roll the ends. The parcels are now sealed, which means the fish will cook in it’s own juices / steam.
4. Cook in the preheated oven for 7 minutes.
This kind of easy and quick one pan food is perfect for those long busy days, when you want your dinner to be ready super quickly, and without much effort. Sometimes I fry the fish skin side down in a frying pan first, for the crispy skin result, however this time I wanted to put the least possible amount of effort in, and grilling alone is also healthier than pan-frying it first.
2 sea bass fillets
1 courgette / zucchini, chopped
2 -4 chestnut mushrooms, whole or quartered
1 medium to large leek, chopped to large pieces
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 pepper, chopped into large pieces
1. Place all ingredients on a oven tray lined with foil. Drizzle some olive oil all over the fish and vegetables, and season the fish with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat the grill to medium heat, and bake the fish and vegetables for about 15 minutes.
I have always though of this as Finnish food, however I have a feeling this food might also be served in other Scandinavian countries. This dish tends to be something children hate (I would guess it’s because of the anchovy being quite a pungent fish), however most people turn around at the beginning of their adulthood, and love this food. I, too, have followed this evolution path. Ingredients wise, you really don’t need much. This is one of those foods that I make semi regularly, and if I’ve had too long a break my husband starts asking for it. Other variations of this is Salmon temptation, where you replace the anchovy with salmon, however I would really like to encourage you to try this with the anchovies if you’re not a hater of the fish. As the anchovies are salty, you don’t need to add any salt into this dish, however if you make this with salmon you would probably want to add some salt too.
8 medium to large potatoes
1 jar of anchovy fillets (100g)
black and white pepper
5 dl cream
1 tbsp bread crumbs
1. Peel and finely chop the onions, and fry in half the butter.
2. Peel the potatoes, and cut into this strips, like matches or French fries. Rinse with cold water, drain and dry.
3. Butter an oven dish. At the bottom, place half of the potatoes. Season with pepper. Put the onions next, as a second layer. Next, put all the fish in as a third layer, then cover with the remaining potatoes. Pour all the oil from the fish tin over the potatoes, and add 3 dl of the cream, as well as some more pepper. Put pieces of butter on top, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
4. Bake in a preheated oven 200°C / 390°F (fan) for about 40 minutes. After this time, add the remaining cream, and bake for another 10 minutes. I love the crispy potatoes you will end with on top.