sweden

Gravlax

Gravlax

I have prepared gravlax a thousand times over the years, starting at the beginning of the 70’s when I worked in  Torekov/Sweden  for the first time, and usually, it comes out perfect, or at least close to perfect. It is one of those dishes which actually require an effort to mess it up. So every time I prepare it, I am sure that the outcome Is a predictable “10” on a scale from 0 to 10. But then came this baby !!!
I had to increase the scale by another point to accommodate its level of excellence. It was so off the chart, in taste, texture, and color. Just a perfect “11” 🙂
It was probably a combination of the quality of the fish, the freshness, the amount and quality of the dill, the ratio of the ingredients of the brine and finally, the time I left the salmon in the brine to cure. Whatever it was, this gravlax is the one all future gravlax will be judged by.
But, I can not give you the EXACT amount of time or ingredients, only approximates. Like with most savory cooking, recipe-measurements and times can only serve as guidelines. Usually, there are too many variables to cook EXACTLY by a recipe. (I am sure you have often heard folks say “I followed the recipe to the dot, but it did not turn out to be like in the picture or in the book or the video?- well, that’s the reason why – too many variables. It is also the reason why a professional chef “interprets” a recipe because, with his/her experience over many years, he/she has learned to factor-in these variables and make the necessary adjustments accordingly.
To quote myself – “Cooking is easy – if you know how to do it !” 🙂
So here now is the recipe I used for this specific gravlax. Again, there are a million and one recipes out there. Every Scandinavian cook, housewife and home cook guards at least one gravlax recipe they swear by, and most of them are pretty awesome, just slightly different from each other.
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2 lbs raw salmon, skin on
2 cup kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 jigger vodka
1/2 cup sliced dill leaves plus 1/4 cup
1/2 cup red beet juice
2 tblsp dijon mustard
1 tblsp fresh-cracked>
black pepper
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Dill/Mustard Sauce
(Traditional condiment for gravlax)
Good quality mustard, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, neutral tasting oil, sugar, fresh dill leaves, pepper(optional), mix all ingredients well.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Gravlax  on  ChefsOpinion
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Gravlax

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Gravlax

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Gravlax

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add the salmon and onions (for a prettier presentation / restaurant presentation) put the egg and capers together with the onions on top of the salmon, however, the way I did it here will keep the capers and egg from rolling off when you eat the sandwich)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Korv Med Potatis Mos (Swedish Sausage & Potato Puree)

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One  of the most satisfying meals I had in my entire life I had in 1973 at around 3.00 am in Gothenborg,  Sweden.
It was certainly not the fanciest or the most beautiful meal, but it was the first food I had in three days and I was starving…….. It was also the first time I ever saw sausage and mashed potatoes served at a roadside kiosk (everywhere else it was sausage and fries) The combination of sausage, mashed potatoes, ketchup and mustard on that cold winter night, together with the satisfaction of a hot meal after nearly starving and the even greater satisfaction of impending hot sex made for a truly exceptional and, as you can see, unforgettable meal 🙂
My friend Heinz and I had finished a short summer season in Torekov, Sweden. After that, we went to Gothenborg, being sure to be able to secure a job working for “Swedish American Line“, which at the time was one of the most famous and luxurious cruise lines in existence. After a few wild weeks enjoying Gothenborgs nightlive, we finally applied for a job at their office.
The HR manager, Helge Swenson, took one look at us and then laughed us out of his office. (Sweden being one of the most conservative countries at the time, I did not look suitable with my shoulder length hair, high platform shoes, skin tight pants and mirrored hippy t-shirt)
So Heinz and I left his office a bit worried, since we had no money left and a hotel bill of considerable heft. (There was money for beer and smoke, but not for food). As we walked down the hallway toward’s the elevator, a very beautiful, sexy brunette passed us. I made some remarks to Heinz in German of the adventures I’d like to have with her. After a few seconds and steps had passed, she turned around and said in perfect German: “Do be careful, you never know who speaks your language in a foreign land”. Turned out she was a manager at the HR office. We started talking and I gave her the address of our hotel. Heinz made fun of me, being sure a hot woman like that would not bother to call a penny-less punk. But low and behold, when we got back to the hotel late that night, there were at least ten messages. I called her back the same night at 2.00 am and invited her out. She said yes and I said wonderful, just one problem: I have no money and if I go out, so does my friend. Well, she agreed, and that’s how Heinz and I finally got food in our belly that night – Korv med Mos.
Needless to say, I held on to that great gal for a while. She got jobs for both Heinz and I on the  MS Gripsholm, and so started a long career on cruise ships for me. Unfortunately the stint on the MS Gripsholm lasted only about one month for Heinz, after which he became very ill. He never recovered and was never able to work again. Myself, I lasted about six months before I broke my spine and was unable to work for about a year. After surgery in Germany, I spend most of the year at Bitte’s house in Sweden, a beautiful house on a lake in the woods near Gothenborg, which she shared with her even more beautiful female friend. Great house, fireplaces all over, sauna, right on the lake. These were the wild 70’s, so we all shared a lot more than the roof we lived under. Life certainly was good 🙂
I slowly recovered while she was still working at the HR office of Swedish American Line. She eventually got jobs for both of us at  Royal Viking Line, where we soon split up and went our own ways…………
Nevertheless, that first Korv med Mos that night was one of the best meals I ever had 🙂
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Smaklig måltid !   Livet är bra !
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Korv Med Mos - Original Version (Image Property: Peter Linquist)

Korv Med Mos – Original Version                    (Image Property: Peter Linquist)

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Korv Med Mos - My Version

Korv Med Mos – My Version

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Preparation :
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Cook diced potatoes in saltwater until tender, drain, mash

cook diced potatoes in saltwater until tender, drain, mash

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add garlic paste, horseradish, heavy cream, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and lots of butter, wisk

add garlic paste, horseradish, heavy cream, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and lots of butter, mix well

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saute onions and sausage, remove sausage when done

saute onions and sausage in garlic oil, remove sausage when done

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add soy sauce, garlic paste, cayenne pepper and a bit of chicken stock to caramelized onions

add soy sauce, garlic paste, cayenne pepper and a bit of chicken stock to caramelized onions

 

add peppers and cabbage

add peppers and cabbage

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saute until heated through but vegetables are still crispy

saute until vegetables are heated through but still crisp

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plate mashed potatoes, make indention in the center

plate mashed potatoes, make indention in the center

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fill indention with vegetables, top with sausage, drizzle liquid from vegetables over sausage

fill indention with vegetables, top with sausage, drizzle liquid from vegetables over sausage

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Korv Med Mos

Korv Med Mos

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Korv Med Mos

Korv Med Mos

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final inspection.....

final inspection…..

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EASY DOES IT # 15 – Gravlax

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There  are a few compelling reasons to make your own gravelax instead of buying it at a store or online:

– Price – Fresh salmon $ 15.00 per pound versus store bought gravlax at $ 40.00
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 – Ease of preparation – actual preptime about 10 minutes, curing between 3 and 5 day’s
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 – Total control of texture and taste of finished product
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 – The joy of adding another stunner to your cooking repertoire
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My  standard  dry-marinade recipe is as follows :
3/5th  of kosher salt, 2/5th of sugar, fresh chopped dill including stems, white pepper, lemon peel, crushed mustard seeds and dark rum.

In the variation  below, I have changed the dry-marinade recipe a bit as follows:
3/5th  of kosher salt, 2/5th of sugar, freeze dried dill leaves, raw garlic paste,  cayenne pepper, dijon mustard, vodka.
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Mix the marinade ingredients, place half of it in a chemical reaction-free container. Top with salmon filet. Add remaining dry marinade to top of salmon. Cover airtight, place in refrigerator. Flip salmon every twelve hours. After twenty four hours, dry-marinade will have transformed into a thick brine. The salmon will be cured after two to three day’s, depending on the thickness and salt to sugar ratio in your marinade. I usually keep my salmon in the brine another one to two days, again depending on the marinade and thickness of the filet. The extra time will give me a slightly dryer and more opaque product which I prefer. This one took four day’s to be exactly the way I like it.
To serve, remove salmon and wash under running water to clean off excess brine. Slice into thin slices, accompany with dill/mustard sauce and rustic bread of your choice.
(To think, first time I prepared  Gravlax  was in the summer of 1973 at the  Hotel Kattegat,  Torekov,  Sweden.  Good times 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Note:
Start out the first time by following my standard recipe, the next few times experiment with the marinade and curing time until you find your own sweet spot.
Variations can be, but are not limited to, different salt/sugar ratios, different herbs, different seasonings, different liquors, different curing length’s.
Enjoy your gravlax journey !
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mise en place

mise en place

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Gravlax

Gravlax

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Preparation :
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mise en place

mise en place

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sprinkle top of salmon with plenty of dill leaves, mix dry-marinade ingredients

sprinkle top of salmon with plenty of dill leaves, drizzle with vodka,, mix dry-marinade ingredients

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add half of the marinade to chemical-reaction-free vessel

add half of the marinade to chemical-reaction-free vessel

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add salmon filet, top with remaining dry-marinade, cover airtight, store in fridge for 3 - 5 days

add salmon filet, top with remaining dry-marinade, cover airtight, store in fridge for 3 – 5 days

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flip salmon every twelve hours

flip salmon every twelve hours, cover again, back into fridge

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4 day's later - done, rinse under cold running water, carefull not to rinse of the dill

4 day’s later – done, rinse under cold running water, carefull not to rinse of the dill

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Gravlax

Gravlax

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Gravlax

the beauty and the beast

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Gravlax

Gravlax

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Gravlax

Gravlax

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Gravlax

Gravlax

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Dear Friend’s, to help support this blog,
please be so kind and click on the video on the bottom of this page.  Thank you 🙂





Frantzén/Lindeberg – Real Food, Presented With Class, Style & A Sense Of Beauty

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Image Source: Wikipedia

Frantzén/Lindeberg, Stockholm, Sweden
Image Source: Wikipedia

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Usually  I am not a fan of highly styled food because, unfortunately, a large percentage of cooks nowadays loose sight of the food aspect in favor of extreme presentation, the  “WOW”  effect.
On the other hand, when I watch this short video of “Real Food”  presented as beautiful as can be at Frantzen/Lindeberg in Stockholm’s “Gamla Stan“, I am vividly reminded that, despite all the wannabe’s,  there are still geniuses out there who honor our profession with this kind of artistry and respect for what good food is all about.
My respect and admiration for chef’s of this caliber who make me proud to be a member of our profession 🙂 >
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The featured dishes are :

“Chicken Salad”
“Tartar of Langoustines”
“Small Bark Pancakes”

Watch the video  HERE
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Breakfast Of Champions # 22 “Pytt I Panna”

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I have
  
been introduced to this dish early in my career as a cook, when I was working at the “Hotel Kattegat” in Torekov, Sweden. At the time, I did not think of it as something special, maybe because we cooked it by he ton, since it is a staple of swedish cuisine. But, over the years, I have grown to love it in all it’s various incarnations. It is basically a dish made of leftover meat and potatoes. What particular meat you use is up to whatever leftovers you’ve got. However, when I make pytt i panna nowadays, I usually prepare everything from scratch, so I use my favorite pytt i panna meat, which is either salame or chorizo, whichever of the two happens to be in the house.
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Pytt Y Panna

Pytt Y Panna

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Ingredients :

Potatoes,   cooked,
diced Salame,   diced, (substitute any meat/sausage you have available
Onion,   diced
Egg,  sunny side up
Kosher salt,
Black pepper,   freshly ground Butter,
Scallion,   finely sliced  (usually in Sweden we use dill leaves)
Ingredients for your favorite side salad:-)
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Method : Saute potatoes in butte until golden, add meat and onions and saute until onions are translucent and meat starts to become slightly brown, Season with salt and pepper. To serve, place hash on serving dish, sprinkle with scallions, top with fried egg. Pair with a small salad.
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Smaklig måltid !   Life is Good !
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Some Of The Places I Worked At Over The Years

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Just some of the places I worked at over the year’s.
Many places don’t exist anymore and don’t have
any pictures on the net. I can’t even find a picture
of my own restaurant  ” Gildenkeller ” I had for
a while in East Germany  😦
If anybody out there who worked with me at any point
can help me with pictures of places which are missing here,
I would highly appreciate it if you would contact me. Thank’s  🙂

Life is Good !
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(Hover or click a pic to see the name and location of the place)
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