Our cookbook of the week is Lagom: The Swedish Art of Eating Harmoniously by food stylist and writer Steffi Knowles-Dellner. Over the next four days, we’ll feature recipes from the book and an interview with its author.
To try another recipe from the book, check out: creamy cucumber and dill gazpacho with pea salsa and sumac.
The Danes may have a lock on smørrebrød but open-faced sandwiches are a favourite in Sweden too, Steffi Knowles-Dellner says.
Dubbed macka or smörgås in her native land, they’re primarily a breakfast food – one that goes well beyond a piece of toast with a smear of butter and a slice of cheese or deli meat. “There should be more love and thought put into them,” she writes.
In Lagom, Knowles-Dellner offers five versions of what she calls “Scandi bruschetta”: purple sprouted broccoli with walnuts, capers and anchovies; butter beans with tarragon and chives; prawn and avocado; peas and broad bean with halloumi; and fennel-crusted mackerel (recipe follows).
“Having that little bit less bread and more filling is the way forward. Much nicer than what we call a door-stopper sandwich over here (in England),” she says.
“One of my absolutely favourite recipes in the book is the fennel-crusted mackerel on crispbread with potatoes and fresh cheese. That and a cold draught beer, and you are winning. It’s really, really nice.”
on crispbread with potatoes & fresh cheese
5 baby potatoes, scrubbed
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) fennel seeds, bashed
2/3 cup (150 mL) dried breadcrumbs
4 mackerel fillets, pin-boned and skinned (see note)
2 tbsp (30 mL) cold-pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil
Scant 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh cheese or ricotta
2 tbsp (30 mL) mayonnaise
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
2 large round crispbreads, broken up
Begin by cooking the potatoes in a pan of boiling water until just tender, then drain and allow to cool slightly. Slice into thick rounds and set aside.
Meanwhile, beat the egg in a shallow bowl and mix the fennel and breadcrumbs together in another bowl. Dip the mackerel fillets in the egg, then dredge in the crumbs, coating completely.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the mackerel fillets until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side.
Mix the cheese, mayonnaise, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice together in a bowl. Stir through most of the parsley and season generously. Spread over the crispbreads, then top with the potato slices and fried fish. Sprinkle with a little more parsley and a few more drips of lemon juice before serving.
Note: Get your fishmonger to fillet and skin the mackerel for you or you’ll go mad.
Recipe excerpted from Lagom: The Swedish Art of Eating Harmoniously by Steffi Knowles-Dellner, published by Quadrille Publishing c/o Chronicle Books.
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