Fish-Centric Menu for Swedish Native -- advice needed!
Hosting a dear Swedish friend, who adores fish (for every course save dessert), for dinner. Want to make at least one Swedish dish, and the other courses can be French/ Italian, or any cuisine.
1) Gravlax -- need advice on the traditional Swedish accompaniments (mustard sauce and.... thinly sliced rye bread? Anything else? I know no capers...)
-- Do want the first course to be incredible -- importance of first impression/ etc!!!
2) Provencal Fish Soup
3) Sole a la Meuniere
w/ sauteed greens, garlic mashed potatoes
Appreciate any tips. Thank you!!
--gravlax is an excellent idea. yes, the mustard sauce is traditional, as is either rye bread or knackebrod (hard-tack -- the giant round rye crackers with a hole in the middle you can get at some delis or at ikea). some fresh dill sprigs, and/or some thinly sliced lemon are also often found on the table.
--if you can find crayfish, they make a great starter. Swedes generally boil them up in salt water with lots of fresh dill, then serve them cold. Lots of vodka/aquavit is consumed along with the crayfish.
--another traditional opening course is ``Tre sorter sill,'' which translates to ``three kinds of herring.'' You simply find three different types of herring, (i.e., one in a mustard sauce, one smoked, one just pickled with onions, etc.) and plate them, usually with some knackebrod.
--On a sidedish/accompaniment note, boiled new potatoes were served with almost every kind of main course when i lived in sweden.
--as far as the provencal fish soup goes, i'd be tempted to serve it after the main. the flavours would tend to overwhelm whatever comes next.
(who still dreams of his time as an exchange student in stockholm)
>>(who still dreams of his time as an exchange student in stockholm)<<
Hey, me too! (South of Stockhom, though.)
You've touched on nearly all the points I would have made, tuqueboy, especially the *sill* and the crayfish. The pickled herring would delight any Swede; the crayfish would send them over the top. (I remember seeing a Swedish film, a comedy about feuding neighbours, where the one neighbour, on a boat anchored off a tiny island in Stockholm's archipelago, tortured the other, stuck on the island, by hosting a crayfish dinner on the deck of his boat which the crayfishless neighbour was forced to watch through binoculars, cursing all the while -- for a Swede, it was the ultimate revenge.)
BTW, those new potatoes you mention are almost always boiled with a few sprigs of fresh dill in the water.
Another dish, often found on smorgasbords and eaten after the sill course, is Janson's Temptation, a casserole of grated potatoes, sliced onions, anchovies and cream.
A whole poached salmon, served hot or cold, is another classic fish dish served on special occasions.
Were I organizing the dinner, I'd start with sill, move on to a fish or shellfish chowder-type soup (more Nordic in character than a bouillabaisse-type soup) and then serve a magnificient whole fish, perhaps baked in salt, or poached as mentioned above or stuffed with shellfish, wrapped in aluminum foil and roasted. Not exactly typically Swedish but not likely to clash with a *sill* sensibility either.
Or, for a uniquely Swedish treat, maybe I'd just serve surstromming. :-o The current year's crop should be hitting its peak in the next month or two, you know. ;o)