Midsommar,which marks the summer solstice and the beginning of summer in Sweden, is always a reason to visit. To inspire your future travels, we’ve asked some of the country’s top chefs their favorite Swedish Midsummer recipes—before you go.Stockholm's exceptionally beautiful Östermalmshallen food hall, dating to 1888, just re-opened this spring after a four-year renovation and is once again a must-see—and -taste!—stop for food lovers visiting Sweden. Such is its overabundance of just-picked ingredients and close-to-nature cuisine, though, that from Stockholm, in the south, to Lapland, 750 miles north, the entire country can seem like the world's most beautiful and accessible food hall. And this is especially true once Midsommar, during the third or fourth week of June, annually, kicks off a beloved season of open-air dining. Despite its name, the holiday actually marks the eve of summer's arrival—so here in plenty of time for the middle of this summer to come are ideas and recipes from chefs and hosts coast to coast. No other culture celebrates summer like the Swedes, and now you can, too, wherever July and August find you—without a daunting how-to list. Because of its emphasis on simplicity, the basics, and natural, locally found fresh ingredients, Swedish cuisine rewards the amateur. You might not be harvesting juniper and lingonberries in your garden (although you might find them at Whole Foods or a health food store nearby), so foraging for the ingredients might well be the hardest part of the recipe.A word of warning, though. Asking a Swede about Midsummer dining is like asking an American about the Fourth of July—expect a lot of hot dogs, corn on the cob, watermelon, apple pie and ice cream in reply or, in their case, pickled herring, new potatoes and strawberry sponge cake. To the uninitiated that may not sound like a party, until the first bite, when it starts to taste like one—especially if you chased it with a shot of spiced schnapps! Related: The Enduring Appeal of Swedish Style (and Where to Find It)Contact Indagare to help you plan a future food-filled trip to Sweden.
Marinade (flavored to taste)
Combine Dijon mustard, coarse mustard and crème fraîche.
Place clean fish fillets in the marinade for several hours, or ideally overnight in the refrigerator (the mustard breaks down the small bones, and tenderizes the fish). Remove and coat each fillet with coarse rye flour; season fillets with salt and white pepper. Fry in melted butter until crisp and light brown on both sides.
Serve with mashed potato, lingonberries and cucumber (below).
Boil potatoes in an eight-quart pot, filled with water, until soft. Mix milk with grated nutmeg and bring to a boil. Whisk the hot potatoes, using an electric whisk or mixer, adding generous knobs of soft butter to taste (up to 1 stick-1/4 pound). Add the milk, until the desired consistency is achieved. Season to taste with salt, olive oil, tabasco sauce and lemon juice.
Crush juniper berries, white pepper and finely chop the dill. Mix together all ingredients and rub into the salmon side. Leave in the refrigerator and turn once a day for three days. Slice thinly and serve with a classic sauce, such as Hovmastar.
Whisk together all the ingredients except the cooking oil. Slowly pour the cooking oil into the mustard mix, while whisking. Beat well, so the mixture doesn't separate.
. "We celebrate the light, the sun and that summer and nature is at full bloom. Food is super-traditional and we eat outside—no matter what. For lunch, it's pickled herring with new potatoes, sour cream and chives, followed by strawberry cake. At dinner, we put something on the [grill]. One good complement to almost any food, especially during summertime is pickled rutabaga—and not just because one of my restaurants is named for it! But at Rutabaga we create dishes that can be a nice vegetarian add-on to the midsummer table since we always use seasonal produce. My cooking is all about trying to use as little technique as necessary to bring out the full potential of every ingredient's taste, and this is one example."
Peel and shred the rutabaga thinly on a mandolin. With a knife, peel and cut the ginger into thin slices. Place rutabaga strips and the ginger into one or more sterilized glass jars. Pour rice vinegar and sugar into a bowl and mix to dissolve the sugar. Pour the cold mixture over the rutabaga strips and ginger to cover well. Seal the jar and leave to cool for at least 24 hours. Then refrigerate until use.
Grill the tomatoes slowly, Lightly oil and season the onions and cauliflower. Grill over high heat. You want to cook them fast to keep some freshness to them. Arrange the ricotta on plates with grilled veggies around it. Spread dill and sliced radishes over. Finish with browned butter.
Whip eggs and sugar in a bowl until fluffy and airy. Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl well ( make sure there are no clumps of baking powder). Melt the butter/margarine in a saucepan. Pour the flour mixture gradually into the bowl with the eggs and sugar, then add butter and water or milk until the batter is nice and even. Mix with a rubber scraper or spoon. Grease the baking form with butter and coat with breadcrumbs. Pour batter into a round (sponge) form pan.
Bake in the middle of the oven for approx. 40 to 45 minutes or when the cake is golden brown and passes the toothpick test (no sticky parts on it). Remove from oven and leave to cool. Once the cake has cooled cut it either into two or three layers. Alternate the layers starting with the mashed strawberries and cream mixed. Repeat until the final layer of sponge has been placed on top. Cover the final layer with whipped cream and decorate with strawberries or berries of your choice.
Smaklig Måltiid! (Bon Appetit!)
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This content was created in collaboration with Visit Sweden and published by Indagare Travel.
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