It’s great to be back in Sweden!
The snow is deep (and white and cold!), the daylight is not yet 7 hours a day this time of year (here in Stockholm, not up North where they don’t have any), and the supermarkets are still a culinary nirvana. Even the tiny ones. Why? I don’t know, really, but my educated guess is because Swedes like to eat (duh!) and don’t compromise on food quality, spoiled Scandinavians that they are.
There are many such examples, of which I will probably orate at length later, but salmon is one of them. Yes, simple raw salmon, sold here in huge slabs of filleted sides of fish, large and small, with all the fantastic fat and the beautiful silver-black scaly skin still on (I can’t stand it, nor understand, why people want to buy their salmon with the skin cut off, but maybe that is just me). I suppose the reason it is so readily available is both, that it is farmed not too far from here, as well as the demand for a lot of it (Swedes eat it in quantity), but whatever the cause, I enjoy the result immensely. And because it is very fresh, it can literally be eaten at any stage of (un)cookedness, which makes it one of my favourite things to eat – in any such form, from sashimi and carpaccio and gravad lax, to having it grilled or in a soup.
I could go on for a long time about how healthy salmon is and how good for you it is, but really, it’s been said many times by many people and while it’s great that it is healthy and I can eat it very guiltlessly and happily in that knowledge, it is delicious enough in all of its incarnations that I’d probably eat it even if it has much fewer health benefits (or indeed, none, like cake or sweets, for example). Because while how healthy the food is, is an important consideration in my kitchen, how well said food tastes, is one that outweighs it enough to call veto on something which is very healthy if it tastes awful, or just not good enough to want to eat.
In the case of our dinner a few days ago, when Tobias showed up at home hauling a piece of a salmon that might have, in its fishy life, been as long as Tobias himself is tall, it was fusion-Oriental seasoned carpaccio.
Carpaccio, in modern use, is more or less any food (in my view, of animal origin) which is sliced thin and served raw in a dressing/marinade of oil, seasoning or herbs, and some sort of mild acid. To make this particular one, I have sliced the salmon (rather haphazardly I would say, as I was hungry and salivating over aforementioned huge slab of raw fish) across the grain and laid it across two platters, adding some greens to shovel into toasted bread later on. The dressing is the only thing here which can be construed as a recipe beyond assembly instructions.
Ingredients: (depending on the amount of food you serve and how much dressing you want for mopping up with your bread)
- A few tablespoons of good all-purpose soy sauce (Kikkoman is the right consistency for me)
- Juice of 1 lime, with some bits scraped in.
- 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil
- 1 finger of ginger (about 5-7cm), peeled, grated and squeeeeezed out into the sauce. You can put some bits in too if you like.
Mix, taste, adjust seasoning to taste. For more salt, add soy sauce, for more acid – a few drops of vinegar (if your one lime is exhausted). Other things I like are mixing a pinch of chili flakes and/or half a teaspoon of brown sugar/honey into the sauce, or chopping some fresh chilies and/or coriander and scattering them over the salmon before drizzling the dressing over it generously (pouring out the remains to desired depth for salmon to swim in).
I tend to let salmon marinate up to 5 minutes, but I imagine up to 10 minutes won’t make that much of a difference. I just like mine asap. Especially when hungry.