Serve up a Nordic feast of herring, potato and lingonberry
Although here in Queensland our temperatures don’t quite drop to those of northern Europe, its still nice to cosy up indoors and pretend its actually cold outside. When the weather is too bitey for your sensitive skin to handle, gather a group of your favourites, bunker down and share in a Scandinavian feast. Chef, food stylist and photographer Simon Bajada celebrates the cuisine of the northern region in his new book, The New Nordic, showcasing the earthy, clean and subtle-but-complex flavours of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. The book features classics such as Swedish meatballs, Danish smørrebrød and this recipe for herring, potato and lingonberry, alongside stunning photography of Scandinavian landscapes to transport you right there.
½ cup rye flour
⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped dill, plus extra to garnish
800 g herring fillets, dorsal fins removed
50 g salted butter
50 ml sunflower oil
lingonberry jam, to serve
800 g potatoes, peeled
100 ml full-cream milk
100 ml pouring (light) cream
25 g salted butter
For the mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water for 12–15 minutes, until soft. Drain well, and allow to cool and dry out. (Returning them to the hot pan can help with this.)
Gently heat the milk, cream and butter in a large saucepan until just warm and until the butter has melted. For best results, put the potatoes through a ricer, alternatively, use a masher. Mix the potatoes into the creamy, buttery mixture using a wooden spoon. Season to taste, then set aside and keep warm.
Mix together the flour, breadcrumbs, a little salt and the dill in a shallow dish. Coat the fish thoroughly in this mixture and use a little of the mix to sandwich two fillets together, skin sides facing out. Repeat with all the fish.
Melt the butter with the sunflower oil in a non-stick or cast-iron frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the paired fillets for three minutes, flipping them over halfway through so they cook evenly.
Serve with the mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and garnish with some extra dill.
If you are feeling indulgent, freshly made brown butter provides a luxurious extra layer when poured straight from the pan over the fish and mash.
This is an edited extract from The New Nordic by Simon Bajada, published by Hardie Grant Books.
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