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Showing posts from February, 2006

Gravlax recipe - Grafinn lax

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The Norwegians and/or Swedes invented Gravlax, and it is a national dish in both countries. This pickled salmon is an excellent entrée and has in recent years become a necessary part of any cold buffet in Iceland. It is almost always served in the same way: thin slices on toast with mustard-dill sauce.

I'm including two gravlax recipes here, one with MSG and another one without it. I'm also including two recipes for mustard-dill sauce, one simple, the other fancy. The pickle mix can also be used with trout.

Recipe 1:
The following pickle is enough for two medium salmon fillets (from a 3-4 kg. fish).
4 tbs fine salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp MSG
3 tbs dill (fresh)

Mix all ingredients together. Apply an even layer of the mix to the fish. Wrap each fillet in plastic wrap and then in kitchen foil, skin down. Leave in the refrigerator for 4 days. Remove the gravlax from the packaging and gently scrape off the spice mix. Cut the fish into very thin d…

Fish soup

I sometimes make this delicious fish soup. It's especially warming on a cold winter's evening.

Serves 4.
4-5 potatoes , diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbs olive oil
1 litre water
1 tbs fish bouillon
1 sprig thyme or basil (optional)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
8-10 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into finger-wide slices
2 carrots, julienned
1 tsp lemon juice
400-500 g white fish or 250 g white fish and 250 g shrimp, lobster/crab and/or scallops
optional: broccoli, cauliflower, celery, chives, parsley

Fry the potatoes and onion lightly in the oil (use a deep saucepan or soup pot). Add the water, fish bouillon, thyme, garlic and sun-dried tomato slices*, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the julienned carrots to the soup. If you are using broccoli or cauliflower, slice broccoli stalks and cut cauliflower into small florets and add with the carrots. Cook for approx. 5 minutes. If using, julienne the celery and cut broccoli heads into florets and add. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and cook …

Skyr, recipe and instructions

The Viking settlers are believed to have brought the knowledge of how to make skyr with them from Norway, and may have developed it further after settlement. Since that time, the knowledge of skyr-making has been lost in Scandinavia.

Skyr looks like thick yoghurt, and the taste is reminiscent of it. But skyr is actually a type of fresh cheese. Because it is made with skim milk, the fat content is very low, allowing it to be eaten with cream and sugar without too much guilt. It is also an excellent source of calcium. Making it takes time, but it's well worth the effort.

Skyr is not widely available outside Iceland (it is sold in limited amounts in some speciality shops in the USA), which can make it hard to produce in other countries. The reason for this is that in order to make skyr, you need skyr. There is a special bacteria culture that gives skyr its taste and texture, and the best way of getting the bacteria into a new batch is by mixing a portion of prepared skyr into it. Sour …

Herring salad - Síldarsalat

This herring salad is a fresh and unusual addition to a brunch or buffet.

1 sweet apple
5-6 slices pickled red beet (Recipe!)
2-3 fillets marinated
or spice pickled herring
1/2 - 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Take about half a cup of mayonnaise and stir well to prevent lumps (Icelandic mayonnaise is thick and tends to become lumpy if not stirred). Cut the herring fillets into small slices and the apple and beet into small cubes. Add to the mayonnaise and mix well. The salad should be a rose-pink colour - if not, add some of the juice from the beets (or cheat and use red food colouring).

Serving suggestions:
-serve with rye bread or crackers. Top with slices of hard boiled egg (optional).
-replace half the mayonnaise with sour cream.

Marinated/pickled herring - Marineruð síld í kryddlegi

Marinated herring is a family favourite, although I must admit that we prefer to buy it ready made rather than make it from scratch.

3 salted herrings
200 ml white vinegar
1 medium onion
200 ml water
6 black peppercorns
100 ml sugar
1 laurel leaf, broken into pieces

(To convert measures, use the link on the right sidebar)

First, the excess salt must be removed from the herring:
Wash the fish under cold, running water. Soak in plenty of cold water for 24 hours, changing the water every few hours. Fillet and soak in cold water for 1-2 hours.

Preparation:
Cut each fillet diagonally across, into finger-wide pieces, OR roll up, beginning at the tail end. Slice the onion. Put the herring into a sterilized jar, layering with onion slices and spices. Stir together vinegar, water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Pour over herring until covered. Close the jar, and give the herring a few days to marinate properly. Store in the refrigerator. Will keep for a couple of weeks.

Serving suggest…

Icelandic lamb/mutton pate – Lamba/kindaKæfa

In Iceland, the economy-minded meal-planner knows that it is cheaper to buy a whole or half lamb (divided into various cuts) than to buy individual pieces when needed. The meat is bought frozen and will keep for 6 months or more at -18°C. This pâté is a good way to use up those leftovers and scraps that you don't know what to do with, and cuts that have freezer burn but have not gone bad.

5 kg meat on the bone (lamb or mutton)
1 1/2 kg mutton suet (optional)
120 g onion, quartered
150 g salt
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp allspice, ground
1 tsp cloves, ground

To convert measures, click the link on the right sidebar.

Note: If you leave out the suet, use fatty meat. Some fat is necessary to hold the pâté together.

Wash the meat and cook in a little water with the suet (if using), onions and salt. When the bones can be easily pulled from the meat, it is done. My mother likes to pour off some of the cooking liquid at this point, and continue to gently fry the meat in its own fa…

Icelandic bread soup - Brauðsúpa

Thriftiness is a strong trait in many older Icelanders, especially the generations that were born before World War II. Everything had to be used up, and throwing away edible leftovers was considered criminal. This thick soup is one way of using up bread leftovers and crusts.

Recipe serves 5.
200 g rye bread or assorted bread leftovers. Must be at least half rye bread.
1,25 l water
2 tbs raisins OR 4 prunes
1 tbs orange marmalade (optional)
6 slices lemon, OR orange/lemon zest or a cinnamon stick
2-3 tbs sugar
100 ml cream, whipped

(There is a link to a measurement converter on the right sidebar).

Soak the bread in the water overnight, or until the crusts are soft. Purée (use a blender if you have one) and cook on low for 1 hour. Add the raisins, lemon slices and sugar and cook for about 10 minutes more. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Recipe translated from Helga Sigurðardóttir's recipe book Matur & Drykkur", Mál og Menning, Reykjavík, 1986 (1947).