Asparagus with Sabayonne Sauce and Baby Shrimps

Midsummer night

The Danes celebrate midsummer night, the longest day of the year on the 23rd of June. It is the light they are celebrating. It gets light 3.00 in the morning and it doesn’t get dark, not really dark, until around midnight. This calls for a celebration and the Danes, young and old, flok to the beaches, parks, lakes and anyway there is water to celebrate the longest day.  This is done  in memory of the Church’s witchburnings of the 16th and 17th century. This is a tradition that stems from pagen times, showing the defeat of darkness to the powers of the sun god.  

This year there might not be so many for bonfires, because it has been so hot, 85°F for more than a month, and no rain. It has been raining the last few days, but it may not be allowed to build a bonfire because of the danger of starting fires that could get out of control. However, the Danes love to  invite friends and family and in general enjoy the special atmosphere of the long, cool evenings after a long winter when the days turn dark already at three in the afternoon. Many will be eating white asparagus because the Danish white asparagus as well as Danish green asparagus is soon over.

White Asparagus with Sabyonne Sauce and Baby Shrimp

Serves 4

8-12 jumbo white asparagus

fint salt

sukker Sabayonne sauce:

1 cup heavy cream

3 egg yolks

½ cup white wine

1 tsp lemon zest

juice of ½ lemon

freshly ground white pepper

2-3 oz. baby shrimps

Garnish: chopped parsley

To make asparagus, peel from the head down. Cut or break the hard end of asparagus. Cook them let salted (½ tbsp.) and a little bit of sukker. Cover and cook asparagus 5-7 minutes depending on how thick they are. Take them up and plunge them into ice cold water to stop the cooking. As soon as they are cooled, remove them from the water to prevent them from losing flavor. Set aside and make the sauce.

To make sauce, whisk cream, æg yolks and white wine en a bowl that can fit into a pot filled with hot water. Using an el-handmixer, pisk the mixture 5 minutes, indtil the mixture is thick and creamy. Remove from the heat and set the bowl in ice cold water a few seconds. Season with salt and pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice .

To serve, come a large spoonful of sauce on 4 warmed plates and place 2-3 asparagus in the middle of the plate. Divide the shrimps over the asparagus and garnish with chopped parsley. Come the rest of the sauce in a bowl and let the guest take more sauce if they want.

Suggested accompaniment: flutes

Chicken Salad with Asparagus and New Potatoes

Here is a lovely summer salad that is a whole meal in one dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken salad with Asparagus and New Potatoes.

Serves 4

2 chicken breast without skin and bones

1 lb. new potatoes, skubbed and cooked 20 minutes

1 lb. green asparagus, trimmed and cooked 3-4 minutes

½ savoy cabbage, shredded

Dressing:

4 tbsp. oliven olie

1 tbsp. apple cider  vinagar

1 tbsp. capers

Garnish: cress or dild

To make salad, cook the chicken breast 12-15 minutes depending on their size. When cooled, shred the chicken and place in a large bowl. Add the potatoes, and the cooked asparagus(which has been cut into smaller pieces) and cabbage,

To make dressing, whisk olie and vinagar and add capers, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Garnish with cress or dild.

   As we drove away from my boyfriends parents, I asked him how he could afford to go to school and not work. “Doe the Danish government pays you to go to school?  “Do you have to pay any of this money back? I asked. 

   “No, you don’t have to pay the government back,” he said. 

   “Can anybody get this money?” A plan was forming in my mind. Maybe I could stay here and get some money to study.

   “Yes, if you are a Danish citizen you can get the money as long as you study. However, many students go to school for ten, twelve years when their schooling should only have taken four years. The government is thinking about changing this rule. In the future, if your education takes five years, you can only get five years of money. Denmark is one of the few countries in the world who pays their students to go to school.”

  “Can I get some of this money?”  

  “Married to a Dane, yes, and even then you have to live here for more than a year before you could apply.”

    The rain was beating angrily down on the car making it difficult for Jesper to see out of the window.

     “Is it true that most of your schools, colleges, and universities are free?” I kept on questioning the poor guy.

   “Yes, most of them are,” he said without losing patience.    

   We drove the rest of the way in silence. We arrived at the restaurant and parked the car on the street. They don’t have too many parking lots in the heart of Copenhagen. The city is more than 800 years old and where to park cars were something they didn’t think about at that time.

Strawberry Tarts

   A few days after I met my future Danish husband, he wanted me to meet his parents. Once again, we crawled into his little car and drove towards the exclusive part of Denmark.   

   We arrived in a sleepy little town north of Copenhagen on a cold Sunday afternoon in November. We came to a lonely intersection. We were parking on the main street in front of a supermarket. his parents lived in an apartment, on the fifth floor, on top of a supermarket. I looked around in amazement, taking in the other shops and saw a butcher shop, a bakery, and hardware store. They were all closed, and there wasn’t a person on the street.

   All the shops, department stores, and supermarkets in Denmark were not open on Sunday. These same stores also closed at two o’clock on Saturday afternoon making it impossible for working people to do their shopping on the weekends. Like most apartment houses, there were a million doors, and I stopped not knowing where to go. The stairs were rickety, and, as I started to climb the five flights to the top, I wondered if I would ever make it to the top.                  

   My boyfriend lived at home, but he rang the doorbell. I guess he was warning them that we were here. His mother opened the door.       

   Of course, his parents both spoke perfect English.

   The most beautiful tableware, I had ever seen, was sitting on the table. I admired the plates: white with small blue flowers. “It is Royal Copenhagen,” the mojther said when she saw me admiring the plates. “It is hand painted and very famous. People from all over the world come to buy dishes from Royal Copenhagen.”   

   In front of each person, there was a small plate, a napkin and a little silver fork for eating the cake. Cups and saucers in the same beautiful pattern with a tiny silver spoon resting on each of the saucers if the guests wanted to stir their coffee after adding milk or sugar to it. The cream and sugar bowls were of silver, as was the coffee pot.

   The mother served coffee in the smallest cups I had ever seen. The coffee was strong. It was nothing like I had ever tasted. I never drank coffee at home because I thought it was too weak. This coffee was excellent, rich and dark. There was a large platter in the middle of the coffee table with the most stunning cakes and pastries I had ever seen.

   Asgar explained about the different cakes. “This cake is named after the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt. She visited Denmark many times, and around the turn of the century a cake was created for her,” he said as he pointed to a small chocolate pyramid form. “It is made of macaroon with a layer of chocolate mousse coated with rich dark chocolate and decorated with candied fruit.”

   My boyfriend explained, as he slid a piece of whipped-cream-covered cake onto his plate, “This is Rubinstein cake, named after the famous pianist Anton Rubinstein. He lived around the time of Hans Christian Andersen. They were good friends. The white whipped cream and the coated chocolate choux pastry should resemble the black and white tangents of a piano.”

   I had my eye on a lovely white cake filled with lots of whipped cream. It had a cylindrical shape with chocolate and small bits of candied fruit on top. “Goose Breast” is the name, and there is both a vanilla cream and whipped cream in this cake. It is then covered with marzipan and decorated with chocolate and candied fruit.  It was always nice to have afternoon coffee at the parent-in-laws.

It is summer and lots of strawberries are on the market. Here is a lovely tart with chocolate and vanilla cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Tart with Chocolate and Vanilla cream

makes 8 small tarts

Pastry dough:

1½ cups flour

6 oz. (180 grams) butter

3/4 cup (145 oz.) sugar

1 egg

Vanilla Cream

2 eggs  yokes

3 tbsp. sugar

1½ tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup milk

½  tsp. vanilla  extract

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. heavy cream

Filling: 250 gram/8 oz. semi-sweet  chocolate

1 lb.  strawberries

To make dough, bland  flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg and just enough water  and stir until the mixture forms a ball. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or until you make the tarts.

Preheat the oven to 340° F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and  let it sit 10-15 minutes (longer if the dough has been in the refrigerator over night), or until the dough gives to a light pressure. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the dough into 8 squares.  Transfer the dough to 8 small tart pans. Refrigerate 10 minutes before baking.

To make the cream, whisk egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract together.  Sprinkle cornstarch in egg mixture while whisking. Bring milk to a boil over low heat and pour slowly into the egg mixture. Return egg mixture to the pan and whisk until it thickens, 4 minutes. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add butter and cream.. Pour cream into a bowl, cover and set in the refrigerator.

To assemble, just before serving,  melt chocolate over a water bath. Brush bottom of each tart with chocolate and come cream in the baked  tart shells and not before. The bottom will be soggy if you do it to early. Place the fruit that has be cut into smaller pieces in a decorative pattern.  Serve immediately.

Chicken Fricassee with Summer Vegetabales

European Cars 

  My first date with the young man whom would after a year become my husband, asked me out to dinner. His tiny Morris Mascot looked like a miniature to me, like a child’s toy. Compared with our large American-built vehicles, his English-made automobile appeared petite. I looked at Jesper, then at the car, then back at Jesper. How could he possibly fit his over-six-foot frame into that tiny lunchbox?  

   “Is that a car?” I cried out and laughed when I saw it.

His legs were long, and yes, it was difficult for him to get into his tiny little car. He looked like a giraffe that had to drop its head down low to avoid hitting the top of the vehicle. He grabbed the wheel with his right hand and held it firmly so he could support himself while he lifted his right leg and landed with a plop on the seat. Then, dragging his left leg and the rest of his body into place, he let out a sigh of relief as if it were a big problem climbing in and out of the car every day. Apparently, he wasn’t upset with me for laughing, and he motioned for me to get in the car.  

  Now it was my turn to turn to squeeze myself into the car. Sure, we have small cars in the States. However, this car was different. The roof of his vehicle was lower than the ceiling of most cars.  I was sure this car was the smallest car I had ever seen. I am a pretty tall girl myself and studied the situation a few seconds.

   I grabbed the door for support, crouched down and with my rear end first; I dropped into the seat with all the grace of a baby elephant, shaking the car. He didn’t seem to notice; he had already started the car and was pulling out of the parking space. Small, inexpensive cars tend to rattle and shake, and I could feel every little bump in the road. The faster he drove, the more the vehicle vibrated. It was only a few blocks to the restaurant, and we were there after just five minutes.  

   It started to snow, the snowflakes spattering onto the window only to melt immediately. Jesper pulled into the parking lot, got out quickly and started walking towards the restaurant. First, I waited, making no attempt to get out of the car. I’ve been expecting him to open the door for me. Apparently, he was unaware of this practice.. He darted towards the entrance, pulling his collar up around his neck, shielding himself from the first winter’s snow. It was cold, and he didn’t seem to notice that I wasn’t following him as he hurried over the snow-covered ground towards the restaurant.

   In the meantime, I gave up waiting for him to open the door and tried to get out of the car. To my surprise, there was no handle. There was just a cord attached to both sides of the door. There wasn’t a window handle either, so I couldn’t crank the window open to shout after him.

   When he noticed that I wasn’t walking next to him, he turned around, hesitated a moment, and then started walking back to the car with a bewildered look on his face. Arriving back at the car and standing right next to the door, he hunched down and gestured with his hands that I should open the window by pushing the window sideways. It was then I noticed that the window was a sliding window with a strip of metal in the middle of the window with a knob. I took hold of it and pushed it to the right.

   “Won’t you join me?” he said with amusement in his voice.

   “Yes, but I don’t know how to open the door,” I complained.

   “Push down on the cord,” he said as he pushed the air with his hands as if he was opening the door. I pushed the rope down, and the door popped open. I crawled out of the car with his help, and together we walked towards the restaurant.

Veal fricassee is a wonderful summer dish with new carrots, peas and new potatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veal  Fricassee with Spring Vegetables
Serves 6-8

2 lb. (910 g or 1 kilo) veal, shoulder or brisket

3 tsp. salt per quart of water

Bouquet garni:

1½ lb.(700 g) new carrots, leave them whole if they are small, if not, slice in 1½ (3.75 cm) inches

5 leeks, washed thoroughly to remove grit and chopped

½ lb. (230 g) shelled peas

Bouquet garni:

1 leek top (only the green leaves)

2 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs parsley

string to tie bouquet garni

Sauce:

2 cups (16 fl. oz.)  light cream

5 tbsp. cornstarch

2 cups (½ quart) stock

salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish:

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

To make veal, put meat in a pot and pour enough water just to cover. Bring to a boil and skim the broth. Add salt and bouquet garni to pot. Cover and simmer over low heat, about 1½ hours. Transfer meat to a plate and remove bones. Cut or shred meat into bite-size pieces and set aside

To make vegetables, remove bouquet garni and cook carrots and leeks 2-3 minutes in cooking liquid. Transfer vegetables to a plate and strain 4 cups (1 quart) of liquid into a large pot. Stir cornstarch into the cream and pour into pot with cooking broth. Boil broth 2 minutes. Add carrots and peas and bring to boiling. Add meat, season with salt and pepper.

To serve, arrange fricassee on a hot platter or large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.

Suggested accompaniment: Boiled new potatoes

Omelet with Tomatoes and Fried Pork

The little Mermaid

The first day after arriving in Copenhagen, I decided to do some sightseeing. I walked for hours and ended at the Little Mermaid in the harbor. I was expecting a huge statue, but there she was. A little bitty statue of a mermaid sitting on a rock just a few feet from land. A few other tourists were standing around. It was easy to see that they were also disappointed in her size. An Australian bloke stood next to me, arms crossed, shaking his head, “I expected her to be bigger,” he said as he turned towards me and continued “didn’t you?”

   “Yes, yes,” I managed to stammer. The Australian said his name was Andy and wanted to know if I would walk with him for a while. Me, goodie-two-shoes, so cautious and jumpy that just making eye contact with a man on the street in a foreign country was a source of anxiety. Every time a man hit on me, I would feign deafness. Now I was faced with a critical decision of walking with a man I didn’t know. 

   When we reached the famous Nyhavn, a canal lined with townhouses from the 18th century, bars, and restaurants, Andy said “Let’s get something to eat. I haven’t eaten since breakfast.” Andy grabbed my arm and pulled me over to a four-story house with a plaque on it.

Digteren H.C. Andersen Boede Her 1845-1864

  ”The poet, Hans Christian Andersen lived here from 1845 to 1864,” Andy said as we crossed the street to the other side.  

   “I didn’t know that you could read Danish.” 

   “It says in my Lonely Planet Gruide book and that King Christian the Fourth built this canal in 1670. It is a gateway from the sea to the old inner city where ships trade cargo and fishermen’s catch. Many of the houses date back to that time and the oldest house still standing was built in 1681.” (see the top of the page)

   “Well, I can see that. All the buildings seem to be falling apart.” I looked up at the houses that were crooked and appeared to be leaning on each other. If they removed a building or two, they would all fall. Others were sinking into the ground, and their windows were crooked. Some buildings were blue, while others were yellow or red.

   Andy motioned for me to follow him and after climbing a few steps, we entered an old house with wooden floors. There were round wooden tables with rickety, wobbly chairs placed around the tables and not much else.

   “This area is notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitutes,” Andy said as he was still reading from his book. 

   “Maybe we shouldn’t be here,” I said as I nervously looked around the room. There were mostly men and the few women in the place, and they were undoubtedly prostitutes judging by the way they dressed.

   I glanced around the room and saw two men eating what looked like an egg omelet with slices of pork on top. 

   “That looks good,” I said as I nodded in the direction of the two men eating…. I didn’t dare point at the men; I might have started a fight.  A man with a crooked nose that made him look more like a boxer than a waiter took our order. My first meal in Copenhagen. Just as we finished our dinner, a fight broke out. I grabbed Andy’s arm and whispered with panic in my voice “What should we do?” Andy laughed and stood up, dragging me with him. “Let’s get out of here.” We headed for the door and after glancing over our shoulders to see if our waiter was following us before leaving. Not to worry, he was in the middle of the fight. We run down the steps and halfway down the street before stopping, laughing and gasping for air. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omelet with Fried Pork (Æggekage med Stegt Flæsk)

Serves 4

6-8 slices of lightly salted pork or bacon

8 eggs

8 tbsp. milk

salt and freshly ground pepper

butter for frying

large bunch of chives

2 tomatoes, cut in slices

To make pork, cut into slices and fry without fat on a hot frying pan until slices are golden and tender.

To make omelet, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Melt butter in a large frying pan (the same pan used for the pork can be used after wiping it clean with a paper towel) over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into pan and let cook slowly, until it is firm and the bottom and sides are browned – about 8 minutes. Place slices of tomatoes on top of the omelet and arrange fried pork slices on top of the omelet just before it sets. Sprinkle with plenty of clipped chives.

To serve, place frying pan on the table and let the guest take as much or as little omelet as they wish.

Suggested accompaniment: Danish rye bread or whole wheat bread and snaps (Danish aquavit).

Pork and Veal Patties with Stewed Peas and Carrots

I have a anniversary coming up. I will soon be celebrating 50 years in Denmark. I will be writing about some of my experiences of living in Denmark and, of course, a typical traditional Danish recipe. 

I’ve been writing this blog for 4½ years. I have always known that many people don’t know much about Denmark, they don’t even know where it is. Not even my parents knew where it was when I told them that I would be going to Denmark in few days. I remember the day I told my parents that I was going to Denmark.

 “I am going to Denmark,” I announced a few days before I planned to leave. No reaction. My parents didn’t even look up from their newspapers.

  “I said I am going to Denmark at the end of the month,” I repeated.

  “That’s nice, dear,” Mother mumbled as if I had just said I was spending the weekend at the beach with some friends. Dad was hard of hearing, so I raised my voice and said it once again.

  “I’ve got a job and everything. I am leaving for New York on Friday and will spend a few days there before leaving for Brussels,” I said nervously.

  “Brussels, I thought you told me you are going to Denmark.” He must have heard something of what I said.

  “First I must go to Brussels and then on to Copenhagen.”     

  Dad finally puts down the newspaper and looked over at me.

  “Let me get this straight. I thought you said you were going to Denmark. Then you told me you are going to Brussels, and now you say that you are going to Copenhagen.” He laughed and shook his head as if I was crazy.

  “Dad, Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark.”

  “Wait a minute,” Dad, apparently confused said, “I thought Denmark is the capital of Sweden.”

  “No, no, Denmark is one of the three countries in Scandinavian and Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark. I will be living and work in Copenhagen. Denmark shares only one border, and that is with Germany. You could sort of say it is on top of Europe.” I was eager to tell them all about my plans. “There’s Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Denmark is the smallest of them; there are only five million people that live there (1968) now five million and a half (2018).  I was sure that they would be upset with me for going off to a foreign country six thousand miles away for a whole year. But they didn’t seem to be.

  “Denmark, Dad, you know Europe,” I was getting impatient with him. I am not sure they ever found out, even though they visited me two times in 40 years. 

  They both started reading their newspaper again and didn’t even ask me when I would be coming back. I didn’t come back, not to live and have now been living in Denmark soon 50 years. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork and Veal Patty with Stewed Peas and Carrots

Serves 4

1½ lb. (700 g) ground pork and veal

1 egg

2 tbsp. breadcrumbs (panko)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground thyme

4 tbsp. flour

butter for frying

To make patties, mix meat with egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and thyme.  Form mixture into 4 patties. Dredge patties in flour. Melt butter in a large frying pan and brown patties 1 minute on each side. Turn down heat and fry 10-12 minutes, frequently turning so they don’t get burned.

Stewed Peas and Carrots

Serves 4

6 carrots, diced

1½ cups milk

12 oz. freshly shelled peas

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. flour

½ tsp. salt

fresh ground black pepper

1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

To make peas and carrots, cook carrots and milk five minutes. Add peas. Stir soften butter and flour together and add to the peas and carrots, bring to a boil and add salt and pepper. Let cook 2 minutes. Add parsley.

To serve, take patties up and place them on four plates. Place 1 or 2 spoons  of stewed peas and carrots.

Serve with boiled  potatoes.

Suggested drink: beer

Smoked Salmom with Shrimps and Danish Caviar

The weather is warm in Denmark, at least it has been for the last few weeks. In fact, we had the hottest day in May ever  recorded last  month. 85°. That is a totally unheard high for Denmark. It may not seem like a very high temperature for many, but for the Danes, it’s high. We don’t cook and some of us don’t even grill. We like to eat our cold open-face sandwiches. This is one of my favorite and so easy. I never get tried of eating seafood and now that the Danish Caviar season is over, we can buy it in small jars. I do believe that it can in most parts of the world. If not, try the internet. Our Danish caviar is normally a light pink color, but some people have colored it black. I guess it is to try to look the black caviar from Russia or Iran. In my opinion, it taste better, and it is not so expensive.  One of my American friend once told me that open-face sandwiches would never be popular in the States. She said that you have to use a knife and a fork to eat it. That makes me sad. These sandwiches are so wonderful and I can’t seem to understand that kind of thinking. I hope you try these sandwiches, even if you have to use a knife and a fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoked Salmon with Shrimps and Danish Caviar

Serves 4

4 slices of buttered sour dough bread or white bread

4-8 slices of freshly smoked salmon, depending on their size

2-3 oz. shrimps

2-3 oz. black Danish Caviar

4 tbsp. mayonnaise

Garnish: freshly ground pepper

To assemble, place 1-2 slices of salmon on each piece of buttered bread. Place shrimps on one side of the salmon and spoon caviar on the other side. Spoon mayonnaise down the middle of the sandwich.

Stewed Stawberries with Cream

Danish strawberries are now slowly coming into the markets. The Danes think that they have the best strawberries in world and, of course, I agree with them. The cool summer days and short nights allows the berries to ripen slowly. Strawberries have a short and intense season here in Denmark and we eat as many as we can while we can.  Never put  strawberries in the refrigerator. That will stop the naturally ripening.  Place them in a cool place unless they should be eaten the same day. If you eat them the same day, you can place them in the sun. And don’t rinse them if not absolutely necessary. When you rinse them, don’t remove the lille leaf on top of the strawberry, it prevents them from soaking water. Strawberries taste good with all types of cremes, yoghurts and desserts.

This picture and recipe is from my book Dining with Danes.

Stewed Strawberries, Red  Currents and Raspberries with Cream 

6 dessert servings

2 lbs. (910 g) mixed fresh strawberries, red currents, black

currents

½ lb. raspberries

½ cup (4 fl. oz.) water

8 oz. (270 g) sugar

4-5 tbsp. cornstarch

3 cups (12 oz.) ice cold heavy cream

To make  berries, put mixed berries in a pot and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes. Add sugar and cook briefly before adding the raspberries. Bring to a boil and stir, remove pot from heat. Dissolve cornstarch in a little cold water and mix it into boiling hot mixture. Bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle a little sugar over to keep skin from forming.

To serve, divide dessert into six bowls and pour a little cream onto to each bowl or let the guests pour as much cream as they want.

Sautèed Plaice with Remoulade and Dill Potatoes and Remoulade

Plaice with its characteristic red spots is the most plentiful fish in Northern Europe. Plaice are best in the summer and it is

one of the most popular summer dishes in the North. One can use haddock, halibut or cod fish if plaice can not be found. I

don’t recommend tilapia or pangasius. They are cheap but they can be farmed in dirty waters. When shopping, be sure and

check where the fish has been farmed and if it has been approved by a reliable source. Red tongue or sole can also be

used, but it is very expensive.Sautèed

Recipe and picture from my book Dining with Danes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sautéed Plaice with Remoulade and Dill Potatoes

(Pandestegt Rødspætter)

4 main course servings

Plaice:*

4 fresh whole plaice, with the skin removed

5-6 tbsp. flour

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 oz. butter

1 lemon cut in quarters

Remoulade (see page…) Makes 2 cups

To make plaice, rinse in cold water, pat dry and with a sharp knife, make an incision all the way down the middle of the fish’s back. This will prevent a super fresh fish from curling up while it is being fried.

Dredge fish in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. Fry fish 3-4 minutes on each side in a large skillet two at a time in slightly browned butter over medium heat. Pour spoonfuls of melted butter from pan over thick end of fish while frying. This way the thin end and the thick end of the fish will be finished at the same time.

To serve, sprinkle potatoes with chopped dill and flakes of cold butter. Place plaice on warmed plates and some potatoes next to the fish. Place a lemon wedge on each plate and garnish with sprigs of dill.

Dill Potatoes:

2 lb. baby new potatoes, scrubbed, with peel left on

1 bunch of dill, finely chopped

1 oz. butter

salt

To make potatoes, scrub them in cold water and place them in a pot with water just covering potatoes. Add stems of the dill and a handful of salt to the water. Cook potatoes l5-25 minutes depending on the type of potatoes. Drain. Sprinkle with chopped dill, flakes of butter and salt.

Remoulade     

Makes 2 cups

1 cup (8 fl. oz.)god mayonnaise

2-3 tbsp. chopped pickles

1 finely chopped hard boiled egg

1 tbsp. capers

1 small crushed clove garlic

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1-2 pinches of dried tarragon, mustard, curry

salt and freshly ground pepper

To make remoulade, combine mayonnaise with chopped pickles, chopped egg, capers, garlic, and parsley. Season remoulade to taste with tarragon, mustard, curry, salt, and pepper.

Smoked Herring with Egg Yolk, Radises and Chives -Sol over Gudhjem

Smoking is an old  metode, dating back to the year 6000 b.c., to keep fish and meat longer. The little town of Bornholm was once famous for it’s smoked herring, mackerel and salmon and  had  at one time 135 places that smoked fish. Now there are about 60 buildings that have been saved from destruction, but not all of them are used. That doesn’t mean that we can’t get smoked fish because lots of other places in Denmark have started smoking fish and some even export herring, mackerel and, of course, salmon. We are so lucky to have two places in our little fisher town that smokes twice times a week. We can always get fresh smoked fish, even el, but that is another story.  This open-face sandwich is one of my all time favorit  sandwichs. It originates from the little fisher town of Bornholm. It is a holiday island 132 kilometers east of the mainland.

Recipe and picture comes from my book Dining with the Danes- 100 recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoked Herring with Egg Yolk, Radishes, and Chives

Sun over Gudhjem, a little fisher town on the Island of Bornholm,

Makes 2

5 oz. (150 g) smoked herring

2 slices of buttered dark bread

2 egg yolks

* or 2 past. egg yolk

4 tbsp. diced radishes

4 tbsp. minced chives

salt and pepper

How to skin herring, herring should be room temperature before skinning. Cut off head and tail fin. Split it open and remove bones, all of them. Place it skin-side up. Carefully peel skin off, starting at the tail. Turn herring over and lift the bones out carefully.

To assemble, arrange fillet on dark buttered bread. Place radishes to the left of the center and place minced chives to the right of the center. Make a place for the egg yolk in the middle and drop egg yolk inside or place half egg shell with egg yolk in it in the middle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

*If you prefer not to use a raw egg yolk, chopped hard-boiled egg is also nice.

 

Open-face Sandwich Tartare with Egg Yolk

Spring has arrived along with the long summer nights. Now the days are longer than the nights. The brown and gray fields are starting to change colors. The rasps fields are so amazingly yellow; they almost blind you. New and fresh vegetables are popping up at the markets. The animals that have been indoors all winter are again appearing in the field almost jumping for joy with the sight of all the green grass. Confirmations, weddings, and christenings are taking place all over the country. Danes are again enjoying outdoor life. Cafes and restaurants set tables and chairs out on the sidewalks, and the Danes are stopping to enjoy lunch or maybe just a cup of coffee with pastry.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beef Tartare with Egg yolk, Capers, Horseradish)

Here is the most common one in Denmark. If you can’t find freshly minced beef in the market, ask the butcher to make it for you. Or you can make it yourself with a sharp knife.  

1 lb. beef filet, freshly minced

4 slices of butter rye bread

1 small onion, finely minced

4 egg yolks*

4 tbsp. capers

4 tbsp. grated horseradish

freshly ground pepper

 

To make, place the whole filet in freezer 30 min. before using. It makes it easier to work with.  Scrape meat with a very sharp knife, along the length of the muscle tissue, so you get fine, long segments of meat. Ensure there are no sinews in the finished tartare.

To assemble, shape meat into 4 square shaped patties and place them on each piece of buttered dark rye bread. Divide minced onions, capers and grated horseradish among the patties. Make place in the center of each patty and drop an egg yolk in the center or place an small pile of salt on the serving dish and arrange egg yolk in a sterilize half egg shell. One can also use pasteurized egg yolks.      

Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Spicy Breakfast Buns with Cardamom

April the 26th is what the Danes call  Great Prayer Day or more loosely  General Prayer Day, “All Prayers” Day, Great Day of Prayers or Common Prayer Day, is a Danish holiday celebrated on the 4th Friday after Easter. It was a day for praying and fasting. You weren’t supposed to work and the people weren’t even allowed to made food or bake. All the bakeries were closed and therefore these buns were always made the day before because they tasted especially good when reheated the dag after. At one point the Danes had so many religious holidays for praying  that the king decided to consolidate all the days for praying into one day so that there could otherwise be used as productive working days, therefore, The Great Prayer Day. That was in 1686. Now there is only one day for praying and most of the shops are closed and the Danes have a free day making this a three day weekend. The Danes buy five million spicy breakfast buns with cardamom each year around this time, making that 9 out of 10 Danes eat these buns on this day or around this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Spicy Breakfast Buns  with Cardamom

 makes 16

4 oz../120 g butter

4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 50 grams cake/fresh yeast)

1½ cups milk

1 egg

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom

650 gram all-purpose flour (5 cups or 1 lb 7 oz)

4 tbsp. milk – for brushing

To make, melt butter and set aside to cool. 1½  Warm milk in microwave to 100-110 degrees F, add dry yeast to milk and let sit for 10 minutes.  Combine butter and milk/yeast mixture. Add  egg, salt, sugar and cardamom. Add flour in small increments until dough starts to come together (Note: you may not need all the flour). Place dough on a lightly floured surface and give it a quick needing to ensure it is homogeneous. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with a dry and clean tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Line a roasting pan  with parchment paper and set aside.

To form, place dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 16 equal portions, by first dividing the dough into half and then into halves again and so on. Shape dough pieces into balls by folding the edges under and into the center until they are round. The small opening at the bottom is placed down on the roasting pan. It is important that the ball of dough are placed close together. .  Cover the roasting pan  with tea towel and let them rise for 30 minutes. As they rise, they will start to grow together, this is what you want. Preheat oven to 200 ° C (390° F).

To bake, brush rolls with a little milk and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool. To serve  spicy bunsr, cut in half and toast them. Top with butter or jam. They can also be eaten with, cheese, cold cuts etc. !

Shrimp and Chicken Hash

Danes eat a lot of potatoes and they always cook more potatoes than they need. The next day, they fry them, use them in sandwiches and salads and use them in other dishes like this hash. This dish takes only 15 minutes to make and everybody loves it, children as well as adults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shrimp and Chicken  Hash

Serves 4

3 tbsp. oil

3 garlic gloves, finely chopped

1 lb. /455  g cooked chicken  without skin and bone

salt and freshly grounded pepper

1 tbsp. thyme

8 oz./240 g cooked potatoes, peeled and diced

3 large tomatoes, chopped large onion, diced

4 oz./120 g peas

8 oz./240 g large shrimps

Garnish: slices of lime or lemon, Worchester Sauce

To make, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok, fry the garlic 30 seconds over high heat, add the meat and fry 1-2 minutes, add the potatoes, onions and tomatoes and fry 4-5 minutes. Add shrimps and peas and fry 3 minutes.  Pour a spoonful or two of Worchester Sauce and garnish with slices of lime or lemon.

To serve, set the skillet or wok on the table together with a bottle of Worcester and let the guest come more sauce on the dish if they wish.

Warm Scollap with Lumpfish Roe

A good scallop, whether fresh or previously frozen will be transparent and a slight pinkish-orange color. It will be soft, and not perfectly shaped. If you find scallops sitting in a pool of milky liquid, and they are very white and firm changes are they have been treated with a preservative to increase their shelf life and water content. Here is easy and quick dish that makes a wonderful appetizer.               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm Scallop Salad with Lumpfish Roe

Serves 4

1 lb. (455 g) large sashimi grade sea scallops, hinge muscle removed

Dressing:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grated rind of a lemon

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Garnish: 3 oz./90 g lumpish roe or salmon roe

dill

To make scallops, rinse them in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Slice scallops as thin as possible. Arrange them in a single layer starting in the middle of the plate. Cover each plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To make dressing, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, grated lemon rind, salt and pepper. Set aside.

To serve, preheat oven to 450°F/232°F. Remove plastic wrap from the plates. Heat until the surface just starts to turn opaque but the inside is still raw, 30-40 seconds. Warm the dressing over medium heat, but let it boil. Spoon the dressing over the warmed scallop and place a spoonful of lumpfish roe/or salmon roe on top and scatter with dill and more grated rind.

Sausage with White Beans and Peppers

The Danes are among the world’s largest  meat eating nations in the world and eat an average of 52 kilo/114.4 pounds of  meat pre person a year. Sausages are popular and we eat on the average of 44 grill sausages a person a year. This happens mostly in the sommer months. But, of course, we eat sausages all year around. We have more pigs in Denmark than people and most of our sausages are made with pork. Sausages can be found in most of the world and are lavet with beef, lamb, turkey, duck and pork. Mange of them have flour, fat, spices, salt and pepper. In Germany there can be found around 1600 different types of sausages. I haven’t been able to find any information about how many types we have in Denmark, but apart from a few classic sausages, the Danes making them with new and different spices. This is a quick recipes that can be made in 20 mintues that is inspired by the French Cassoulet. .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sausage with White Bean and Peppers

Serves 4

1 tbsp. oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 tbsp. oil

10 oz./300 grams spicy sausage, cut into thick slices

1 can of white beans

1 cup of tomat juice

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

To make, heat oil  in a large skillet over high heat.   Add the garlic and fry 30 seconds, then add the onion and pepper and fry 2 minutes. Take them up, and come sausage  in the skillet and fry 3-4 minutes. Come the vegetables back to the skillet and add beans, juice, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil and cook 2-1 minutes.

Suggested accompaniment:  baguettes

Eggs with Pork, Potatoes and Avocado

The weekend is coming up and most people have time for a nice breakfast. Eggs are  always a welcome variation to the everyday rutine.  This a quick and easy dish to make while setting the table, making coffee or tea and poring juice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs with Pork, Potatoes and Avocado

2 pers.

6 oz. (180 grams) minced pork

1-2 tsp. salvie

salt and pepper

2 tps. oil

1-2 large baking potato (depending on how hungry you are in the morning) peeled and diced

1 finely chopped onion

2-4 eggs (again depending on how hungry you are)

1 avocado, cut into thin slices

2 tbsp chopped parsley

To make, combine the pork with salvie, salt and pepper. Heat the oil on a large skillet over medium heat and  brown the meat. Add the diced potatoes and onion, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove the lid and press two – four holes in the mixture with a spoon. Crack an egg into a cup and slide the egg into the holes in the  meat-potato mixture and cook 5 more minutes.

To serve, garnish with avocado slices and parsley.

Danish Lumpfish Roe – The Caviar of the North

Danish Caviar

Lumpfish roe is sold fresh in the fish shops of Denmark during the spring months and in jars over most of the world all year round. It is available in its natural color, but can also be brought with black, and red food coloring added so that it resembles real caviar from the sturgeon.

It can be used as a first course served with toasted bread, lemon wedges, and sour cream. This is the most common way to serve lumpfish roe, but a friend of mine served the roe with bread fried in butter first. It was delicious.

The season is soon over and the fish shops are selling large portions of roe than need to be cleaned. It is much cheaper and easy to clean. It can then be frozen and taken up in small portions at a later date. Don’t salt or use lemon until the roe has been thawed.   

How to clean fresh roe, open the sac and press the roe out into a bowl. Remove the largest membranes. Pour cold water over and with an electric mixer, beat the roe. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Pour off the impurities that have floated to the surface. Repeat this process. Drain the roe and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add 1 cup/8 oz. finely chopped onion if the roe is to be served plain with toast and sour cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lumpfish Roe on Butter Fried bread with Dill Sour Cream and Slices of Red Onion

Serves 4

4 slices of white bread

30 g/1 oz. butter for frying bread

250 g/8 oz. lumpfish roe

1 tbsp. salt

1 cup sour cream combined with a pot of dill

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

8 springs of dill

2 lemons

To make  bread, melt butter on a large skillet over medium high heat and fry the bread 2-3 minutes or until they are golden.

To make roe, combine the salt with the roe and place a 4th of the roe on each piece of fried bread. Place 1 or 2 large spoonfuls of sour cream on top of the roe and arrange 1 or 2 sprigs of dill on top of the dish.

To serve, cut the lemons into 2 and grill them on a grill pan and place a half lemon on each plate.

Lamb Curry with Sweet Potatoes

Easter is now over and many will have leftover lamb. I know I do. Although this not a Danish dish, curry has been popular in Denmark since the 1600. century. Sweet potatoes, however are quite new in Denmark and gaining in popularity ever minutes. Years ago, it was a big problem getting ahold  sweet potatoes for my Thanksgiving dinner. Now, they are frequently in the stores and larger than ever. There are different types of sweet potatoes and I always thought they were orange-yellow. I just happened to get ahold of a yellow potato. It tasted just fine. Sweet potatoes are  sweet, therefore the name,  and should be cooked just like a potato. In fact, I love them baked and served with just butter. Be careful, they have lots of calories, 123 calories for 100 g,ca. 3 oz.  whereas a potato has 85 calories for every 100 g/3 oz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb Curry with Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

1 lb. (455 g) sweet potatoes

1  lb. (455 g g) lean lamb (from the leg or loin) trimmed

of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes or left-over lamb can be used from Easter dinner

2 tsp. curry powder

2 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 small onion quartered

1 red peber, cut into strips

1 green peber, cut into strips

2 tbsp. coconut  flour

1 tbsp. olie

½ cup coconut milk

½ cup lamb bouillon

2 tbsp. lime juice

1 tbsp. honey

To make sweet potatoes, wash sweet potatoes and cook them 10-15 minutes in let salted water. Take them up and when cooled, remove skins and cut into cubes 2 cm x 2  cm, 0,80 in x 0,80 in.

To make lamb, combine curry, flour,  salt and pepper and dredge the meat in this mixture. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and cook the meat 3-4 minutes if fresh, or 1-2 minutes if using cooked left-over lamb. Take  meat up and add the peppers to the skillet and fry 4 more minutes. Add coconut milk, lamb bouillon, lime juice and honey. Bring the meat back to the skillet and cook 1 minute. Add  sweet potatoes and heat the dish 3-4 minutes. Toast  coconut flour on a warm skillet and sprinkle over the dish.

To serve, serve with rice.

 

 

Lemon Marinated Salmon with Horseradish Dressing

Easter Sunday all the Danes are either eating an Easter lunch or an Easter dinner. This marinated salmon can be an appetizer for the Easter dinner or a part of the Easter lunch.   The technique of curing fatty fish evolved from a pre refrigeration era need to preserve seafood in a safe, flavorful way. The lemon and salt in the cure draws out moisture, transforming the texture and color o the fish. After a few hours or days in the refrigerator, the fish loses 15% of its weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEMON MARINATED  SALMON WITH HORSERADISH DRESSING

12 appetizer serverings

3 lbs. salmon filet, with skin left on

Marinade: 6 lemons

salt and freshly ground white pepper

Dressing:

1 cup sour cream

2 cups whipped heavy cream

2 tbsp. lemon juice

salt and freshly ground white pepper

2 -3 tbsp. freshy grated horseradish

Garnish: cress or parsley

To make the salmon, remove all bones from salmon and place salmon skin side down in a deep dish.  Grate rind of 2 lemons and sprinkle over salmon. Squeeze juice from all 6 lemons; pour over salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Make sure salmon is covered with juice or turn filet once or twice while marinating.

To make the horseradish dressing, whisk all ingredients for dressing in a bowl.

To serve, cut salmon in very thin slices diagonally across grain. Place slices of salmon on a plate and garnish with dressing, cress and lemon zezt.

Suggested accompaniment: toasted white bread or crusty bread

Lemon Mousse Cake

Like most Christian countries, the Danes celebrate Easter with lamb, chicken and Easter eggs. In Spring, dawns marks the beginning of the days that will outlast the nights. At Easter all the small children in Denmark are busy writing letters to their families called “Gækkebrev” and are translated to a letter with a snowdrop in it. Using a scissor and piece of paper, the children cut a decorative pattern  and write a little poem on it. If the person who receives the letter can’t guess who sent the letter, they are supposed to give the children a candy Easter egg. Of course, the grandparents and parents can guess who sent them, but they always act like they can’t. These “gækkebrev” are a Danish invention and date back to the 1600 when people send letters to each asking them to solve a puzzle. Many people believe that Hans Christian Andersen was the founder of this tradition, as his paper cuts were as fantastic as his fairy tales. He was not born until 1805 and the first gækkebrev dates back to 1600.  At Easter time the Danes have 5 days free from their work and children have Easter break from school. Once again, luncheon with snaps and open-face sandwich is the one of the most popular ways, especially if the weather is still cold. And yes, it is still cold here in Denmark.

Lemon Mousse Cake  

Serves 4

4 eggs

6 tbsp. sugar

grated zest of 1 lemon

fresh lemon juice from 2-3 lemons, approx. 3/4 cup

1 tbsp. powdered gelatine

1½ cup (12 fl. oz.) heavy cream

Cake:

4 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1½ cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

To make mousse, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy. Whisk in lemon zest and juice.

Pour 2 tbsp. of water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle in powdered gelatine. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring continuously until gelatine has dissolved. Let it cool a little, then pour it into the lemon mixture. It should never be too hot.)

Beat egg whites and cream in two separate bowls. First, fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture, then half of the whipped cream. Pour mousse into four individual bowls. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

To make cake, preheat oven 420°F and pisk eggs and sugar with a hand-mixer. Add flour and baking powder and stir until combined. Pour the batter on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cake 7-8 minutes.

To assemble, when cool, cut 12 round circles with a cookie cutter (3 inches/7-8 cm). There should be 12 circles, 3 for each cake. Come 2-3 spoonfuls on lemon mousse between each cake piece, two layers of lemon mousse for three cake pieces. Refrigerate 3 hours before serving.

To serve, place the rest of the whipped cream on top of each cake and decorate with a few strips of grated lemon rind.