Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
It hit us like a huge Tsunami-The manifesto behind New Nordic Food from a northern climate, virtually overshadowing the formerly ruling, Mediterranean cuisine. The food wave is led by Claus Meyer, professor, business man and co-owner along with Chef Rene Redzepo of Noma restaurant-Copenhagen (voted number 1 in the world). Meyer, along with other chefs from the area call it, “authentic cuisine”. Basically the style is cooking with ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly excellent in Nordic climates, landscapes and waters. This style shows a great respect for the terroir of the wild and sustainably raised food. Many of the dishes and tools represent going back to a slower, less complex way of eating. It focuses on traditional food ways with a contemporary twist. I for one, am glad to learn the techno trend of cooking has passed, is over, finito! Empty processed foods do not exist- only the age-old techniquqes of drying, brining, smoking, pickling and leavening bread with a ‘starter’. I’ve included a selection from New Scandanavian Cooking website which states the recipes are there to inspire us. Bravo!
Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen by one of the founding fathers of New Nordic Kitchen, chef Claus Meyer
“As Nordic chefs we find that the time has now come for us to create a New Nordic Kitchen, which in virtue of its good taste and special character compares favourable with the standard of the greatest kitchens of the world.”
The aims of New Nordic Cuisine are:
1. To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics we wish to associate with our region.
2. To reflect the changing of the seasons in the meals we make.
3. To base our cooking on ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly excellent in our climates, landscapes and waters.
5. To promote Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers – and to spread the word about their underlying cultures.
6. To promote animal welfare and a sound production process in our seas, on our farmland and in the wild.
7. To develop potentially new applications of traditional Nordic food products.
8. To combine the best in Nordic cookery and culinary traditions with impulses from abroad.
9. To combine local self-sufficiency with regional sharing of high-quality products.
10. To join forces with consumer representatives, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, the fishing, food , retail and wholesale industries, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this project for the benefit and advantage of everyone in the Nordic countries.
That is how we prepared food hundreds of years ago, and we are now going back to the same old virtues. Not because of a naïve and romantic dream, but because it makes sense: The quality is high, the taste is great, and the food is healthy, too.
Fish Cakes with a Quick Remoulade and Rye Bread
- 20 ounces (about 1 1/4 pound) fillet of cod or similar white fish in the cod family
- 1 baking potato
- 1 carrot
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 bunch of dill, finely chopped
- Butter and oil for frying
- 1 fennel
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 small cauliflower (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- 3 tablespoons apple vinegar
- 1 cup quality mayonnaise
- 1/2 bunch of chervil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles
For the Fish Cakes
Put the fish in a meat grinder or food processor and grind coarsely. Place the ground fish in a bowl and stir in the salt until it gets sticky. The idea is to bind the moisture so that the fish cakes don’t fall apart.
Add the eggs, flour and cream a little at a time and stir well. Peel the carrot and the potato and grate them both finely on a grater. Press the water out and add these to the ground fish.
Finally, add chopped dill and pepper.
Let the fish settle in a cool place for about 30 minutes.
Spoon into cakes and fry in a mixture of half oil and half butter.
Be patient when you fry the fish cakes, allowing them to get a good crust before turning them. This yields a better result and helps them retain their form and consistency.
For the Remoulade
Peel and rinse the vegetables. Grate the outer part of the cauliflower into a bowl using the coarsest side of a grater. Dice the rest of the cauliflower (it can all be used) and the rest of the vegetables into 1/4 inch cubes.
Place the vegetables into a pot with the salt, pepper, cane sugar and vinegar and steam them for about 3-4 minutes, so they still have a little crunch. For an even, steamed texture, stir them a little while they are cooking. Remove the pot from the heat and let the vegetables cool.
Adjust the taste with salt, pepper and a dash of vinegar.
Fold the boiled vegetables, grated cauliflower and chopped pickles into the mayonnaise. Finally, add the chopped chervil.