Travel Food Notes: Part 1 Fish Salad & Horseradish

My host in Sweden, Ingrid, served me horseradish soup one of the last nights, and I loved the peppery creaminess of it, so I roughly recreated the recipe yesterday for my Dad.

From Epicurious and altered. Ingrid said she bought it at the store and re-heated.

1. The hard part is finding fresh horseradish. Whole foods had it. Peel then grate 1 1/2 cups.
2. Chop 2 big Yukon potatoes, dice some fresh dill, and a few shallots.
3. Saute with olive oil, and a bit of butter for 20 mins.
4. In big pot add stock (I used chicken) and all of the stuff from the saute pan.
5. I deglazed the saute pan with a few cups of water, and added that to the soup pan.
6. Simmer for a while. At some point mash up the potatoes. I added a 1/2 cup of milk, some butter, and a few tablespoons of sour cream.
7. Season to your own taste & serve, or let sit and simmer to make it even better.

Sorry no photos of soup available! I had to drive up to San Francisco before it had completed sitting and melding flavors. Really.

Dad with Swedish lunch

The photo above is my Dad, recovering nicely, fish salad, and pate and Wasa bread. I know fish salad sounds unappetizing, but it’s oddly filling and tasty. I got this recipe from Time/Life country cooking books, a 1950s collection of different regions and their cooking styles. This is named a Norwegian fish salad, but I swear it resembles a shrimp cocktail I got in Malmö. This is a rather light spread for lunch, which I discuss below. Dad wasn’t into lingering over coffee, which would have been an even more accurate cultural replication of Swedish lunch.

Fish Salad
1. Poach a fillet of halibut or cod. (Get a big pan of water and salt boiling, lower to simmer and with spatula lower fillet in water. In 5 minutes remove gently and put on a clean dishtowel. When it’s room temperature break into 2-inch chunks.)

Trophy Wall

2. Mix in a bowl:
– pint of sour cream
– grated horseradish (2T)
– chopped dill (3T)
– chopped onion (2T)
– white vinegar (2T)
– salt, pepper

3. Put fish chunks into the bowl and cover with the sour cream mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. This is the “marinade.”

4. Make 2 hard boiled eggs. Cut 2 fresh tomatoes decoratively. Chill a few plates with big leaves of butter or boston lettuce.

5. Arrange fish chunks with sauce on lettuce, slice eggs, and add sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle leftover dill over the salads.

My hosts in Sweden served frozen fish they’d caught from the lake, and made another fish recipe the first night I was there, and sadly didn’t notice the seasoning! The lunchtime meal is the biggest, and sometimes dinner will just consist of dinner rolls and coffee. This is traditional of course and their sons do different meal arrangements (as did people in Stockholm). The “salad” was basically code for any cold dish before the main dish. In nicer restaurants I’d order a herring or salmon salad that was a stack of vegetables, potatoes, and fish, but all cold. Russia did the same kind of “first course” that was a cold one, with caviar or some other expensive fish, and then potato or starch and strong seasoning.

From that time/life book I read that sour cream was actually introduced by Americans during world war II. The Danes, the best at dairy products, used a different kind of fermented yoghurty/cheesy tart sauce before that.

Also from that book:

Danes live to eat,
Swedes eat to drink,
Norwegians eat to live.

And Russians? Don’t eat.

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