My first ever time in the Scandinavian region last year inspired me to learn more about the cuisine there, since it’s somewhat different from what I’ve been accustomed to, regarding both eating and cooking.
There are a large number of Scandinavian cookbooks available on a site like Amazon but the one I was most taken by was Bronte Aurell’s The ScandiKitchen. It’s filled with beautiful color photographs, and has a great selection of recipes to choose from, complete with chapters on customs and items 100% Scandinavian (Fika, the Swedish coffee break, and the famous open-faced sandwiches). While the author Bronte Aurell is Danish, her husband is Swedish, and the cookbook includes recipes from the entire region.
Although I could have easily have made any of the recipes from the dessert and bakes chapters, I decided to go the main course route. I don’t know if herring is something I’ll ever want to try (well, never say never), but it’s certainly not the first thing I wanted to make (there are a lot of recipes that feature herring, just an fyi). Since fish is obviously such a huge part of Scandinavian cooking, the Nordic Fish Cakes seemed like a good place to start.
These really weren’t too difficult to make and as someone who doesn’t eat copious amounts of fish, they also weren’t overly fishy in terms of taste. My only comment is that your house will smell of fish for a couple of days after (the pitfalls of living in a cold weather state where you can’t exactly open the windows in the winter).
With Lent now here, these really are a great meal to make for a Lenten Friday since they’re quick and easy. And if you want to simplify things even more, you can even buy store bought remoulade.
Nordic Fish Cakes with Danish Remoulade
recipe courtesy of The ScandiKitchen by Bronte Aurell
14 oz. cod loin, haddock, pollock, or similar (I used haddock)
1 floury potato
3 tablespoons light cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped dill
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon plain/all-purpose flour
salt and ground black pepper
butter, for frying
2 oz. carrot, finely chopped
2 oz. cauliflower, finely chopped
1 oz. gherkins/pickled cucumbers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 teaspoon ground chives
2/3 cup good-quality mayonnaise
7 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon tumeric (optional)
1 teaspoon coarse mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (to taste)
salt and ground black pepper
-In a food processor, add the fish and salt and pulse until blended.
-Grate the potato finely and squeeze out the excess liquid. Add the potato to a bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well and add to the food processor. Blend until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the fridge for 30 minutes before using.
-Meanwhile, make the remoulade. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. For quick results, pulse a few times in a food processor or with a stick blender. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes before using to allow the color and flavor to develop. Note that this makes quite a large amount of dressing, but it will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
-Heat up a large frying pan/skillet and add a good knob/pat of butter. Using a tablespoon and the palm of your hand, shape egg-sized balls and add to the butter. Squash the fish cakes down gently to give them slightly flatter surfaces. Fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides (3-4 minutes per side). Keep warm in an oven on a low temperature while you fry the remaining cakes.
-Enjoy warm with a dollop of remoulade. These fish cakes are also excellent cold as an open sandwich filling.