Nordic

#vikinggrub Fish Cakes

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on an Estonian blog. You can find the original on my Viking Grub board. I translated it from Estonian, changed the units from Metric to US Customary (Thanks internet!), and ended up tweaking the amounts of ingredients to my taste.

I have found that there is some adaptation of a fishcake in many of the Nordic cuisines. The original recipe was more in the Finnish syle. In fact, there was a very interesting bit about the food pyramid in Finland that accompanied the original recipe. Another of the recipes I consulted while I was working on this adaptation was Danish, and called Fiskefrikadeller. The recipe contained many of the same elements: types of fish, lemon, capers etc. Anyone who knows Nordic/Scandinavian cuisine well, feel free to comment & school me on the subtle differences between a Finnish fishcake & a Danish fishcake.

The process of making the fishcakes was not dissimilar to making potato latkes. The key to success is getting the batter to the proper consistency, and having your oil at just the right temperature.

Fiskefrikadeller (Danish Fishcakes)

makes 18 mini-cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14oz) can salmon, drain & reserve liquid, pick out any skin/bones
  • 4 tilapia filets, cooked (I bought mine frozen & poached them for around 8 mins.)
  • 1 large egg
  • the juice of half a lemon (around 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp dried dill OR
  • 3 tbsp chopped, fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
  • canola or peanut oil, for frying

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, blitz the fish until they form a thick paste. Add 1-3 tbsp of the reserved salmon liquid, if needed, to facilitate the blending.
  2. Dump fish mixture into a medium-sized bowl. Add egg, lemon juice, dill, and capers. Stir until combined.
  3. Refrigerate mixture for about 10 mins. Meanwhile, heat oil in shallow pan over medium/medium high heat.
  4. When the mixture is chilled, add in the panko, and stir to combine.
  5. When the oil is hot (around 350F), you can begin dropping scoops of the batter into the hot oil. I used my medium sized Pampered Chef scoop, which is around 2 tbsp, & spread the mixture a bit with the back of the scoop until the cake got to the desired size.
  6. Fry cakes about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Serving Suggestions:

  • serve with oven roasted, skin-on, red potatoes
  • serve with fries
  • enjoy with remoulade or tartar sauce
  • make a Fiskefrikadellar slider
  • make a Fiskefrikadellar Eggs Benedict #putaneggonit

Finnish Pulla Bread with Cinnamon & Cardamom

This recipe is the Scandinavian version of a cinnamon roll. But better. Not as sickeningly sweet as their Amercian counterparts, the dough is yeasty & just slightly sweet, the filling is flavorful and not excessive, and they are delicious without any type of gooey white icing on top. If you would like, you can top with crushed cardamom seeds or almonds after the egg wash. Completely by accident, I made these the same night I made chili for my kids for dinner. Chili & cinnamon rolls are some sort of weird Midwestern combo that I have never understood. Possibly a native Midwesterner can explain it to me?

A side note: cardamom is awesome & a cornerstone of the Nordic flavor profile. It is expensive, but a little goes a long way. I would recommend *not* buying the pods if possible. Use seeds or ground seeds. I had the pods leftover from when I made spiced rum & it was extremely time-consuming & labor-intensive to open a pile of pods & remove the seeds from within.

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As I was taking the seeds out of the cardamom pods, I was reminded of this passage from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. #nerdalert

Pulla Bread with Cinnamon & Cardamom

makes 16 large rolls

Ingredients:

for the dough:

  • 4 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2C warmed milk (2% or whole is best)
  • 7C all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2C granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

for the filling:

  • 18 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1C granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • slivered almonds, or crushed cardamom seeds, for garnish (if desired)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Warm the milk in the microwave. As with any liquid you are adding yeast to, you will need it to be warm, not hot. In my microwave, it took about 1 min.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together warm milk and yeast. Set aside for at least 5 mins, or until frothy.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir until combined.
  5. Add the butter, a tbsp at a time, waiting for each addition to combine before adding the next.
  6. Knead for 6-8 mins, until dough is elastic & slightly sticky.
  7. Put the dough in a larger bowl that is oiled or buttered (here I recommend either butter or cooking spray), cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
  8. Meanwhile, prep the filling: combine the butter, granulated sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl and mix with a rubber spatula until combined.
  9. Lightly dust your work surface with about 2 tbsp of flour. Turn the risen dough out and divide in 2 (I found that this was alot of dough to work with at once).
  10. With a rolling pin, roll it out to about 1/2″ thick. Ideally, the shape of the dough should be as close to rectangular as possible, but don’t worry if your dough is slightly rounded at the edges.
  11. Spread half the filling evenly over the dough, reaching all the way to the edges, then, beginning with a long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 8 rolls.
  12. Repeat the above process with the other half of the dough.
  13. On two baking sheets with parchment paper arrange eight Pulla on each sheet, making sure they are about 2 inches apart. Cover Pulla with plastic wrap and allow them to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. They will double in size. (Hence the spacing.)
  14. Brush the pulla with the beaten egg and sprinkle with cardamom seeds or slivered almonds, if desired.
  15. Bake for 10 mins or until golden brown. Serve warm with a cup of strong coffee.

    adapted from a recipe from kinfolk.com

Creamy Salmon Soup AKA “Lohikeitto”

Remember the Legit Fish Stock I made the other day? It made 4 quart-size mason jars full, and here’s what I made with 2 of them. This recipe is for a salmon soup, known in Finland as Lohikeitto. You pronounce it like this. It’s a simple, hearty soup that’s surprisingly filling. I actually adapted it from a recipe, translated from Finnish with metric measurements changed over. You’re welcome. If you’re interested, you can find the original recipe on my Pinterest board, Viking Grub.

Creamy Salmon Soup

makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can Pink or Red Alaskan Salmon
  • 2 quarts fish Stock
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced fine
  • 4 cardamom pods, smashed open
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 C half-and-half
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • dill or chives for garnish (optional)
  • salt & white pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium dutch oven or a large pot, bring stock to a boil.
  2. When the stock is boiling, add onion, cardamom pods, nutmeg, and bay leaves.
  3. Add the potatoes to the boiling stock and cook for about 10 mins.
  4. Remove the cardamom pods and bay leaves from the broth.
  5. Remove the salmon from the can. Examine it for any small bones or residual bits of skin, and remove these. The can that I used contained most of a spinal column and a few pin bones and I’m not really too into having that in my soup so I pulled them out.  IMG_1019
  6. Break the salmon into bite-sized chunks and add to the soup. Simmer soup at medium-high heat for about 5 mins.
  7. Add the half-and-half and the butter, heat for about 5 mins at medium heat, or until the butter is melted.
  8. Taste the soup and add salt and white pepper to taste. I found the fish & stock to be salty enough, so I didn’t feel that I needed to add any salt.
  9. Serve warm and topped with dill or chives, if desired, with a few slices of dark bread for sopping up the broth.

Legit Fish Stock

Nordic is the new black. I’m not kidding. Check out my new Pinterest board Viking Grub. Nordic food & the Nordic diet are getting ready to have a serious moment. Mark my words. What constitutes a Nordic diet? That’s a great question & I’m glad you asked… berries (think the lingonberries you get alongside your meatballs at IKEA), root vegetables, dark grains (like rye), a subtle flavor profile with spices like cardamon & dill, and seafood. Lots of seafood. Hence my preparation of a legit fish stock. You can make a “cheaters” fish stock of sorts using things like shrimp shells to provide the “fishy” flavor. This is not an option for me since I shouldn’t really be eating shellfish (allergies: sad face). And so,with temperatures dropping, and autumn imminent, I bring you the prelude to my upcoming adventures in Nordic cuisine…

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I felt very special when I arrived at Whole Foods and received these… **BONUS** He spelled my name correctly!

Legit Fish Stock

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fish parts (heads, tails, bones etc) You don’t want to use any fish that are too oily to make stock. I ended up using red snapper, and 2 pounds ended up being 2 full snapper carcasses.
  • 1 pound of carrots, roughly chopped (Remember, when you’re making stock it’s OK to leave the skins on.)
  • 1 large white onion, roughly chopped (I chop the top & bottom of the onion off & remove the skin.)
  • half a head of celery (4-6 stalks), roughly chopped (Leave on the leaves!)
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 12 C water
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 1/4 C dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a large stockpot or dutch oven heat EVOO over medium high heat.
  2. Add celery, carrots, and onion & sweat until translucent but not browned.

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    See? I leave the leaves on my celery and the carrots are not peeled…

  3. Season with salt & pepper, if desired.
  4. Pour in white wine and bring to a boil. Breathe in the delicious aromas deeply…
  5. Add the fish carcasses and cover with water. I like to use water that I have already heated in my electric kettle because it makes the wait-time until boiling shorter.
  6. Add the vinegar and bring it to a boil.
  7. At this point you may want to skim off any scum that rises to the top. I use a tool that looks like this:  skimmer
  8. Add the parsley & bay leaves to the pot. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 4 hours.
  9. Let stock cool for 1-2 hours, fish out the large bits of bone & veggies with a slotted spoon.
  10. Strain stock through a cheesecloth and can or freeze until ready to use.

**NOTE** You can carefully sift through the bones & pick out some lovely bits of fish that you can use in your soup or in place of canned tuna in a later application. Let me emphasize the word CAREFULLY. Fish carcasses have a lot of small, sharp bones, so be safe!  safety