Spring chicken with asparagus and autumn chanterelle sauce

Celebrating Valentine’s Day or “Alla hjärtans dag” (All Hearts’ Day) is a fairly new tradition in Sweden. It was slowly introduced for commercial reasons in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s when more and more students, after spending a high school year in the U.S., brought this custom of Valentine’s Day with them when they returned home.

Commuting home from work on February 14, whether by train, bus or subway, it is a rather moving sight to see all these tired and half asleep men and women, all having a flower package resting on their knees, containing the day’s mandatory rose for their loved ones.

Fine dining, roses and heart-shaped jelly candy are the most common gifts this day, while Valentine cards are no bestsellers.

Our day started early this morning with breakfast in bed, served by Devoted Husband, and tonight it was payback time for me, which meant cooking and serving my beloved man a delicious meal accompanied by a glass or two of a great red wine.

I often try to avoid buying vegetables and fruit / berries that do not naturally exist in our country this time of year, but today I could not resist the temptation of  a bundle of green asparagus from Spain. With asparagus, my dried autumn chanterelles and a couple of chicken fillets I was able to treat him with a dinner that rocks hard, despite its simplicity.

Spring chicken with asparagus and autumn chanterelle sauce

IPlated dish 2

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 fillets of chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter and olive oil

Sauce

  • 5-10 cm leek, rinsed and shredded
  • 2 cups dried chanterelles
  • 2 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1 tbsp black currant jelly
  • 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
  • 2 pinches of curry
  • 2 pinches of smoked paprika
  • black pepper, thyme and salt

Methods

Soak the chanterelles in water for 20 min. Drain and gently squeeze the excess water out.

Soaking chanterelles

Dry sauté chanterelles until remaining water has boiled away.

Add butter and oil together with spices and leek and stir fry for a few minutes.

Add cream, sherry, jelly and bouillon powder, reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Check the seasoning.

Meanwhile mix butter and olive oil in a frying pan, season the chicken fillets and fry them until the meat juice is clear. If the fillets are thick continue baking them in the oven at 175 degrees C.

Frying chicken fillets

Rinse asparagus under running water and snap the bottom part.

Fill a large pan with a little water, add salt and let come to the boil, then add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Cooking asparagus

Drain of excess water in a colander, then rinse in cold water to preserve crunchy texture.

Distribute asparagus stalks on warm plates, place the chicken fillets on top and spoon the sauce over.

Plated dish

Tuck in!

A bite

Enjoy and have a Happy Valentine’s day!

Recipe: From Nyfiken Grå (Curious Gray) a blog that caters seniors and retirees.

Advertisements

Seared whitefish with beets and horseradish butter

LavaretIn Swedish this fish is called “sik” (pronounced just like the English word “seek”) . When I look it upp in the dictionary the translation is either “whitefish” or “lavaret”. I leave it to you to choose what ever name is right.

Anyway, Devoted Husband caught this gorgeous “sik” just a few days before we closed down our summer cottage and moved back to the city. And since then the fish has been banished to a life in the cold, i.e the freezer. The other day it was time to thaw her (yes, I actually know it was a she, as I took care of her roe, washed it and seasoned it with salt and pepper and served with avocado, sour cream and chopped red onion, so delicious!) and let her brighten up our dinner.

My tips for thawing fish: I’ve learned from a fisherman to always thaw frozen fish covered in MILK, in some magic way this procedure makes the fish appear as if it is just taken fresh off the hook.

Seared whitefish (lavaret) with beetroot and horseradish and dill butter

Plated lavaret

Ingredients

  • Fillets of whitefish (lavaret), about 800 grams (salmon, trout or arctic char will do just as well), scaled but with the skin still left on
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Beetroots, about 1 kg
  • 125 g softened butter
  • 5 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 bunch dill, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 250 grams of mixed salad
  • Fresh asparagus (3 stalks / person)
  • A handful of coarsely chopped hazel- or walnuts
  • Olive oil, vinegar, salt flakes
  • Butter / canola oil for frying

Directions

Heat oven to 200 degrees C

1. Cure the fillets by rubbing in the sugar and salt mixture 1-2 hours before cooking.

Filets of lavaret

2. Stir butter with 4 tablespoons horseradish, dill and lemon juice to your taste. Season with a little sea salt and leave in the fridge to harden.

3. Wash the beetroots and cook for about 30-40 minutes or until “al dente”.

4. Peel and cut each beetroot in quarters.

5. Rinse mixed salad, dry it, plate it up and sprinkle the nuts on top.

6. Wipe off the sugar / salt mixture from the fillets and brush with a little canola oil on both sides.

7. Rinse  asparagus and snap off the woody ends.

8. Add salt to water and bring to a boil, then add the asparagus and when water has reached a boil again, pull the pan off the plate and let the asparagus remain in the hot water for a couple of minutes.

9. Heat a frying pan thoroughly, pour oil or butter (or both) into the center and swirl to coat the pan.

10. Place the fillets skin side down. The moment the fillets hit the pan, jiggle it so the fish doesn’t stick.

11. Let the fillets sear for 2-3 minutes then carefully transfer them skin side up to an ovenproof pan (greased with a little oil) and continue cooking them for another couple of minutes.

Fried filets

12. Put beetroots in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with sea salt and dots of horseradish butter. Place in the oven along with the fish and let the butter melt down, enough to glaze the beets.

Beetroot with horseradish butter

13. Put asparagus on top of the mixed salad, sprinkle with oil and vinegar and a pinch of salt flakes.

14. Put the fillets (skin side up) on top of the salad and place the beets with the horseradish butter on the side.

15. Sprinkle the remaining grated horseradish over the dish.

Seared whitefish

Enjoy!

Sparkling Sav with asparagus and goat cheese flan

Always having one or two packages of puff pastry stored in the fridge or freezer can be a real lifesaver when unexpected guests suddenly come to visit, especially when you are in your summer cottage and the nearest grocery store is 30 kilometers away. The dough is useful both for appetizers, baked goods and desserts.

I usually use fresh puff pastry and if it hasn’t come to use before BF date I just put it in the freezer and it’ll keep a while longer.

A couple of our best friends stop by here in Paradise the other day on their way further north to the province of Jämtland to celebrate an upcoming birthday. And of course we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate with them too, a little in advance.

In the fridge there was this package of puff pastry, some goat cheese and a bunch of asparagus, enough to make an asparagus and goat cheese flan as a snack to serve with a glass of Sav, a unique sparkling wine based on birch sap.

The sap (sav) is harvested from birch trees growing on the mineral-rich soil of the Great Lake area in Jämtland, actually the same place where our friends intended to celebrate the birthday. Sav really has a taste of its own, very fresh and crystal clear with a hardly noticeable bitterness in the aftertaste.

Asparagus and goat cheese flan

  • 1 roll of fresh puff pastry
  • 100 g goat cheese
  • 14-16 asparagus stalks
  • Olive oil and flakes of sea salt
  • coarsely chopped roasted pine or hazel nuts (optional)
  • Crema di balsamico (more like a balsamic syrup compared to balsamic vinegar)
  1. Take out the puff pastry from the fridge and let it rest for 10 minutes before using it.
  2. Place a baking tray in the cold oven and preheat to 225 degrees C.
  3. Rinse and trim the ends of the asparagus by snapping them off.
  4. Cook the asparagus in salted water for just a minute or two and then immediately rinse in cold water.
  5. Fry the asparagus with some olive oil in a very hot frying pan for another few minutes, just enough for the stalks to get some colour.
  6. Roll out the parchment with the pastry dough and make a frame by lightly scoring the dough 2 cm in from the edges, be careful not to cut through the dough.
  7. Cover the area inside the frame with goat cheese crumbles and place the asparagus stalks on top and drizzle with a little olive oil and flakes of salt.
  8. Remove the baking tray from the oven and place the parchment and puff pastry flan on the hot tray.
  9. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees C and bake for about 15 minutes until the frame is golden brown.

Before serving divide the flan length wise in two and cut every half in four or five pie slices with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Sprinkle the flan with chopped nuts and drizzle with crema di balsamico.