the scandinavian cookbook (home-cured salmon)

Having only visited two cities in Scandinavia (Copenhagen and Stockholm) my knowledge of the regional cuisine is meagre at best, limited mostly to gravadlax, herrings, meatballs and smørrebrød (all of which I love). Trina Hahnemann’s beautifully presented book sheds light on the clean flavours of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, through simple recipes that take a modern slant on traditional Scandinavian fare.

Sectioned into months, the book is a real joy to browse through (Lars Ranek’s photography is stunning) and the recipes are very accessible, although many were rather simplistic and only a few really grabbed me. Of particular interest were the varied selection of bread recipes, which included rye flatbread, yoghurt and wholewheat, cinnamon rolls and cardamom buns. The divine Danish Kartoffelkage (cream-filled choux pastry covered in a layer of cocoa-dusted marzipan) is also down on my to do list.

The side of salmon gleaned from a recent trip to Billingsgate Market was perfect for trying one of the many salmon preparations in the book. I chose the Marinated Salmon, cured using a mixture of salt, sugar and citrus zests. The recipe unhelpfully failed to specify the size of salmon to use, and I found the amounts of both salt and sugar excessive for my relatively small piece of fish, so I cut it by a third. The resulting cured salmon was still too salty to eat on its own, but was perfect when paired with roasted beetroot, lambs lettuce, toasted sourdough and horseradish cream*. I actually attempted the pickled cucumber recipes from the book as well but the pickles came out so overwhelmingly sharp that we barely touched them.

The Marinated Salmon recipe is below if you’d like to give home-curing a go. You will need to tweak the measurements stated (they’re straight from the book) according to the size of your fish – I would advise you to cut the marinade quantity by a half for a medium-sized piece of salmon.

Marinated Salmon
serves 20-24

zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
300g caster sugar
300g sea salt
1 side of salmon, filleted

to serve:
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
toasted bread
green salad

Combine the salt, sugar and citrus zests and spread the mixture evenly over the enter surface of the salmon. Wrap it tightly in cling film, place in a deep dish (the fish will expel liquid as it cures) and leave in the refrigerator for 3 days.

After 3 days, take the salmon out and remove the cling film. Wipe as much of the marinade as you can off with a paper towel, then wrap in a new sheet of cling film and freeze for 12 hours (you can portion the salmon up before freezing, and just defrost each portion as needed).

Remove from the freezer and defrost fully. Then cut into thin slices to serve, sprinkling it with lemon and orange zest if desired (I served mine with roughly chopped dill).

* 150ml creme fraiche with 2 tbsp creamed horseradish, and a little salt and pepper.

The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann is available on Amazon (RRP £14.99).
Many thanks to Quadrille Publishing for kindly providing the review copy.

~ by gourmettraveller on August 19, 2010.

17 Responses to “the scandinavian cookbook (home-cured salmon)”

  1. Oh my goodness looks amazing! I am off to to Norway next weekend so looking forward to lots of Scando food there.

  2. Have never thought of curing my own salmon! Sounds easy enough, time to visit the fish monger!

  3. It’s a lovely book. And beautifully photographed as you say. Like you I’ve found it relatively hard to find recipes that I actually want to cook in it. And that’s from a guy who is living in Sweden. Are you going to be cooking some more recipes from it?

    • possibly. I have my eye on the curried meatballs and I’m tempted to brave one of the bread recipes (although dough and I generally don’t mix!). Have you made anything from it?

  4. I made the cheese tart, very nice.
    I thought about the salmon, it’s one I bookmarked, so very glad to read your tip about reducing the volume of marinade, thanks!

  5. looks delicious

  6. The salmon looks great! I like the book very much, too. The Kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls) are absolutely delicious. I’ve already tried nearly 20 cinnamon rolls recipes and Trine Hahnemann’s are by far the best! The dough is just wonderfully fluffy and I love this subtle hint of cardamom. They’re definitely worth trying.

  7. This looks absolutely wonderful – I love the flavors of Scandinavia. I’m all for DIY – and curing brings the concept to a new level! I’d imagine its flavors are that much more rewarding as a result. Salmon, fresh greens, and crusty bread – perfectly simple. Love it!

  8. this looks amazing! i looove salmon and this looks soooooo good

  9. I have used a very similar recipe and love it. We used this rub for doing a hot smoke on the salmon and it is wonderful. The only difference is that the recipe I used calls for 50/50 caster sugar to brown sugar and we didn’t freeze it (which kills any possible parasites) because we hot smoked it. Never thought to try it as lox, I’ll have to try it next time. Thanks for the review!

  10. The citrus is a great addition… I’d love to try this with some salmon! The color in the photo is spectacular… the flesh is so jewel-like. Great recipe.

  11. I have a soft spot for Scandinavian food. We have Swedish “family” and I have fond memories of visits to see them with amazing food. Thanks for reviewing the cook book. Based on your review, I might skip it, but the recipe for the salmon looks good. I have never tried curing fish, and it might be time to give it a try. Thanks.

  12. Here’s a better recipe for Swedish pickled cucumbers (pressgurka in Swedish):

    1 cucumber, thinly sliced, preferably using a cheese slicer.
    1-2 heavy pinches of salt.

    Put the sliced cucumber in a collander with the salt and toss. Put a plate on it, and a weight (a couple of cans or whatever) on it, to press out some of the water from the cucumber. Leave it for about half and hour, adding some pressure now-and-then to squeeze som moisture out.

    Mix together:

    1 dl of water
    1 tablespoons of acetum (12%) or vinegar, not red/white wine vinegar though.
    2 tablespoons of sugar
    Black pepper

    Mix everything together, making sure the sugar dissolve. Put the cucumber in a jar and pour the liquid over it. you might have to double or triple the recipe to cover the cucumber. Leave in a fridge for a couple of hours.

    The trick is to get the amount of acetum/vinegar right, so it’s sharp – but not too sharp.

    It’s usually served with mash potatoes, meatballs, cream gravy and lingonberries. The sharpness works well with the velvety potatoes and gravy.

  13. I prefer curing salmon with 1 part salt and two parts sugar, adding some vodka is also a good idea if you want to change it up.
    Also you can freeze the salmon while curing, this will make it cure faster and of course kill all of the nasty parasites.

    Thanks for a great website!

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