Dill stewed potatoes and gravlax (cured Salmon)

I love cured salmon and could easily eat it in various forms almost every day. A real Swedish classic is to serve it with dill creamed potatoes, and a perfect dish to cook if you have leftover potatoes from a previous meal.

Dill stewed potatoes

Dill stewed potatoes and gravlax 1

Ingredients

  • 10 firm potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 500 ml milk or half and half
  • 100 ml finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method

  1. Drain the boiled potatoes of water and let cool.
  2. Mix chopped dill with sugar.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
  4. Whisk in the flour and add milk to the paste, a little at a time during constant stirring until incorporated.
  5. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes on low to medium heat – and don’t stop stirring – until thickened into a cream sauce!
  6. Add the dill and season to your own taste with salt and black pepper.
  7. Slice the potatoes, not too thin, or cut it in cubes and gently fold into sauce. Cook until warmed through.

Serve with slices of gravlax (cured salmon), smoked salmon or mackerel, mixed salad and a wedge of lemon.

Dill stewed potatoes and gravlax 2

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Salmon pudding – A Swedish classic

Salmon pudding – or laxpudding as we say in Swedish – is a bright shining gem in the crown of culinary Swedish classic home cooked dishes.

While there was still a staff canteen at work, and salmon pudding was on the menu, I was often one of the first in line for a plate of this divine dish.

Due to cost reductions though, the canteen is now replaced by coffee machines and microwave ovens in some distant corner of the office together with a long list of what you can and cannot do in this area. For instance, you are not allowed to use the microwave during office hours. Four microwave ovens and you may not use them to heat your lunch?! So much for cutting expenses.

I once decided to ignore the ban and tried to sneak the lunchbox with my homemade salmon pudding into the microwave. Immediately our boss, who seemed to have an extra set of eyes in the back of her head, came running, waving her finger in a big NO, NO. It might cause odor!!!

If anyone want to taste (and smell) a Swedish laxpudding, please be my guest.

Salmon pudding
4 servings

a-plate-of-salmon-pudding

Ingredients Ingredients

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 300-400 grams salmon, cured, salted or smoked, or a mix of two or three
  • 1-2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch chopped dill

Filling Filling, ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 200 ml milk
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and coarsely ground white pepper to season
  • Butter for greasing and sautéing + melted butter to serve on the side
  • Peas and grated carrots

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Peel and boil the potatoes. When tender, drain the water and let cool.
  • Melt butter and sauté onion until softened.
  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
  • Slice or cut the salmon in chunks.
  • Slice the potatoes and start layering the ingredients; potatoes, onion, salmon and dill. Continue layering untill the dish is full or there is nothing left. Season with pepper between the layers. Top layer should be potatoes.

Layering the ingredients

  • Pour the egg mixture over potatoes and salmon.
  • Dot some butter on top before baking. (I have drizzled the top layer with a mixture of butter and rapeseed oil from a squeeze bottle).

Ready to bake

  • Bake for 45 – 60 minutes until golden and the egg mixture has set.

Salmon pudding

  • Cut in squares and serve with green peas, grated carrots and melted butter.

Salmon pudding 2

PS It is quite easy to salt the salmon yourself, but you have to start 2-3 days in advance. 500 grams of salmon (mid section) 2 tablespoons of salt 2 tablespoons of sugar

Brine

  • 500 ml of water 25 ml salt
  • Rub salmon with salt and sugar and place in a  plastic bag and let rest in the refrigerator for 24 hrs.
  • Mix water and salt in a dish and add the salmon to the brine. Leave in the refrigerator for another 24 hrs. Check that the salmon is just enough salt. If not, leave it for still another day. If too salt, let it soak in milk or water for an hour or two.
  • Pour off the brine.
  • Salmon is sustainable about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Sugar and salt-cured lavaret with mustard and dill sauce

Devoted Husband is a passionate fisherman, and a rather successful one too, and he really contributes to keep our food costs down during the summers spent in our summer-house. Besides all the pikes, which nobody but ourselves and the French seem to appreciate, here is one of his more exclusive catches, a lavaret (European whitefish).

When I recently visited one of Stockholm’s better seafood stores I noticed that they sold lavarets at the price of 30 € / kg. This one weighed 2.2 kg, so maybe fish monger may be a lucrative future business.

The lavaret is a member of the salmon family but with a much lighter, almost white-pinkish flesh, than its cousin. It can be eaten smoked, freshly sugar and salt-cured, baked, fried, poached, or grilled. Its roe is almost as prized a delicacy as that of vendance.

Caught wild in lakes or sea the lavaret is more sensitive to parasites than the salmon though, so if you think of eating it raw  you’ve to let it stay in the freezer for 5 days before preparing it.

This one landed in the freezer before she (yes it was a she!), or it, was cured and served as a starter with toasted bread crumbs and a dill and mustard sauce. Cured in this case means raw fish that has been preserved with sugar and salt.

This recipe and method is the same I use preparing sugar and salt-cured salmon (gravlax or gravad lax), the crown jewel on the Swedish smorgasbord.

Sugar and salt-cured lavaret (gravad sik)

Sik - Lavaret, plated

Ingredients

  • 2 large filets of lavaret, about 1 kg
  • 50 ml salt
  • 100 ml sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp coarsely crushed white pepper corn
  • 1 bunch chopped dill
    ********************************************
    So far the basic recipe. You can either stop here and go straight to “Method” or continue and give it a personal twist by adding your own favorite flavours that can be anything from false/pink pepper, zest and juice from lime, lemon or orange, fennel seeds and juniper berries to whiskey, gin, calvados or vodka. Only your imagination sets the limit! Here are my extra all!
  • 1 tbsp coarsely crushed pink pepper
  • 1 tbsp crushed juniper berries
  • 50 ml lingonberries (save some for serving)
  • 3 tbsp whisky or other alcohol (gin goes very well with both the juniper and lingonberries, but whisky was all that was available at the time)

For serving: toasted bread crumbs of dark rye bread, mixed sallad or ruccola and lingonberries.

Method

  • Start by placing the two filets skin side down on a cutting board. Feel the row of pin bones with your finger and remove them with a pair of fish tweezer.

Sik - Lavaret 4

  • Combine sugar and salt until evenly mixed and sprinkle a thick layer of the mix onto the filets.

Sik - Lavaret 5

  • Sprinkle peppercorns, juniper berries and dill and spoon the liquor over the filets.

Sik - Lavaret 7

  • Finally add the lingonberries.

Sik - Lavaret 8

  • Place the filets one on top of the other, thick part against thin part, with the spices in between.
  • Wrap tightly in cling film and put the package in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Place in a deep dish large enough to allow the filets to lay flat.
  • Let rest in the refrigerator for 48 hours, Flip the package over a couple of times during curing.
  • Remove plastic wrapping and the accumulated juices.
  • Carefully scrape off peppercorns, dill and lingonberries with a knife and wipe the surface clean, not too neatly though (don’t rinse in water).
  • Cut the lavaret flesh into thin slices.

Sik - Lavaret 9

  •  Arrange 2-3 slices on a bed of mixed sallad. Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs along with some lingonberries and spoon the mustard sauce (gravlax sås) on top. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Sik - Lavaret extra

Mustard sauce

  • 1,5 tbsp sweet mustard
  • 1,5 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red (or white) vinegar (little at a time while tasting)
  • juice of half a lemon (little at a time while tasting)
  • 200 ml  rapeseed oil
  • A bunch of chopped dill

Mix all ingredients except oil and dill. Whisk in the oil, little at a time to start with and finally add the dill. If the sauce is too thick dilute with a little water.