Sunday, January 25, 2015

Simple Supper: Zucchini and Leek Pasta

"No onion," scolded my friend Jessica.  She had just come from Italy and was showing me how to make a zucchini pasta sauce that she had there.  "Ok," I replied, "but how about a little garlic, then?"  "No garlic," Jessica said exasperatedly, "Just the zucchini."  Jessica's sauce was very simple.  Just grated zucchini, sauteed slowly in a lot of olive oil until it melted down into a thick sauce.  On pasta with grated parmesan, she was right.  It didn't need anything else.  It tasted fresh, like the essence of summer.  However, in the middle of winter with zucchini out of season and without much flavor, Jessica's sauce would need a bit more.  I couldn't quite bring myself to put an onion in it, but surely Jessica could have no objections to a lovely leek?  And really, some garlic couldn't be wrong.  Of course some basil to add a bit of zest. This is fresh and yet warm and comforting.  A glimpse of summer for the winter.

Serves 4
2 to 3 medium sized zucchini
1 leek
4 cloves of garlic
generous handful of basil
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
500 grams of your favorite pasta

First, put a big pan of water on the stove for the pasta.  Salt generously once the water is boiling and cook the pasta for the number of minutes indicated on the packet.  I like to use a penne or farfalle pasta which will take up plenty of the sauce.

Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables.  Rinse off the zucchini and grate them.  Slice the leek in half.  Rinse carefully to get any grit from between the leaves.  Slice into rounds.  Roughly chop the basil.  Peel the garlic and chop.

Heat a saute pan and add a generous amount of olive oil, about 3 to 4 tablespoons.  When the oil is hot, throw in the leek and a pinch of salt and stir for about a
minute on high heat until it starts to wilt.  Throw in the garlic and stir for another minute.  Then add the grated zucchini.  Add another pinch of salt and stir.  Add some more olive oil if you feel it is getting dry.  Turn the heat down to medium and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally.  When the zucchini starts to break down, the sauce is ready.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and throw in the basil and give it a final stir.

Drain the pasta when it is cooked, saving a cup of the water. Toss the hot pasta in the sauce and stir until it is coating all the pasta.  I like to do this with a pair of tongs.  Add a bit of the pasta water if it seems a bit dry, and you can even add a bit more olive oil.

Incorporate about two tablespoons of grated parmesan into the sauce and stir.  Serve the pasta hot with more parmesan on top.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Slow Cooker: Oriental Beef Stew

This fragrant stew is an easy riff on a classic Chinese dish called red-cooked beef. When I was a child, my Chinese grandmother would make a similar type of dish for special occasions like my birthday enriched with boiled eggs and glass noodles.  The eggs, which were my favorite part, would be boiled and peeled and then cooked with the beef, and would end up colored and tasting of the delicious broth.  The eggs symbolized fertility and the noodles symbolized long life.  Sometimes, my grandmother would have a dish of red colored eggs where the red color meant prosperity, good luck, and happiness.

The flavor of the stew comes from star anise and five spice powder which is a mixture of spices normally including cloves, cinnamon, sichaun pepper, star anise, and fennel. I love using star anise because they are so amazingly pretty.  The five spice powder can be used as a spice rub on meat, in stir fries, or even stirred into mayonaise for a dip.  It makes everything taste vaguely Chinese!  Orange and ginger are complementary flavors that I throw in, if I happen to have the ingredients around.  But the stew will taste also good without them.

For everyday, I usually don't bother to do the extra step of boiling the eggs. Making it in a slow cooker makes it easy to serve on a weekday, but you can also make it on a pot on the stove.

Serves 6

1.5 kilo stewing beef
1 large onion
2 to 3 carrots
2 to 3 turnips or half of a daikon radish
2 star anise
2 teaspoons five spice powder
4 tablespoons soysauce, adjust to taste
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, optional
grated zest of one orange, optional
8 cloves of garlic
black pepper
oil for frying the beef
4 to 6 boiled eggs, peeled (allow one per person), optional

First prepare all the ingredients. This can be done the night before, if you just want to throw it all in the slow cooker in the morning. Cut the beef into bite size chunks.   Chop the onions into large dice.  Peel the carrots and the turnips or radish and chop into large bite size pieces.  Peel the garlic and chop each clove into two pieces.  Peel the ginger and slice thinly.

Take a large pot or skillet and put on the stove on the highest heat.  Put some oil in the pan and brown the beef in three to four batches.  If you try to brown all the beef at once, the heat will drop in the pot and the juices will come out of the meat and you will end up boiling the meat instead of browning it.  For each batch, drop in pieces in a single layer to cover the bottom of the pan, making sure that each piece has contact with the pan.  Turn the pieces over until they are nicely brown on all sides.  Put the browned pieces in a bowl (or straight into the slow cooker pot), and then repeat until all the meat is done.  In between batches, if the browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan look like they might burn, throw in a quarter cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan.  Add this water to the bowl with the browned meat.  It is these caramelized juices that will form much of the flavor of the stew, so you want to make sure you get it all! Then, heat the pan again and add a bit more oil and continue browning the meat.

When all the meat is browned, add a bit of water to the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan, stirring until all the browned goodness at the bottom is dissolved into the water.  Pour this water into the bowl with the meat.

Put the browned meat and the juices into the pot (or your slow cooker), add the vegetables, onion, garlic, and peeled boiled eggs if you are using them, and pour in water about half way up (about 2 cups of water).  Put in the spices and soysauce.  Pepper generously. If using a slow cooker, then turn it on, according to how long you will be away and put on the lid.  

If cooking on the stove, then bring the stew to a boil.  Let the stew simmer at a light boil for an hour with the lid off (this will evaporate some of the liquid to make a stronger tasting broth).  After an hour, taste the stew liquid for salt.  Add some salt or more soysauce if necessary.  The liquid should taste fairly full bodied.  If it tastes a bit weak, leave the lid off to reduce the liquid further, but be careful to salt with a light hand.  If the liquid already tastes good, then put the lid on and lower the heat until the stew is just simmering.  Simmer until the meat is very tender, a further one to two hours. 

Whether made on the stove or in the slow cooker, taste and adjust the salt before serving hot over white rice.  Stir fried bok choy, spinach, or other greens make a nice accompaniment.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Simple Supper: Basil Pesto Pasta

I can still remember in the 1980s when basil pesto (pesto alla genovese) became fashionable in Los Angeles where I grew up.  Suddenly, it was on every restaurant menu and bottles of pesto appeared in the pasta aisle in the supermarket.  No one really knew how this mysterious sauce was made, but it seems to involve a lot of hand grinding, so the best course of action was to buy the jar, or even better, the sort-of-freshly-made-plastic-canister in the refrigerated section.  We didn't know any better and it tasted pretty good.  Fast forward to the 1990s and my first trip in Italy. There, in any grocery store, you could find a big bowl of what looked like freshly made pesto. Glistening bright green with flecks of cheese, this looked and tasted amazing.  It tasted reminiscent of the pesto of my childhood but better. A lot better.

Some years later, my best friend was married in Italy and the first course of her wedding supper was basil pesto.  It was served in the traditional way, with green beans and potato mixed in with the pasta.  It was so delicious that I had two helpings, despite that this was just the beginning of a five course meal.

When I finally made pesto myself, I was shocked to realize how
simple it was to make at home, and I find it now hard to understand how anyone could buy the jarred kind.   Perhaps the mystery lies in that you really need to have a food processor or what I like to term a "woozy woo", which is a mini food processor (if you don't have one of these, I suggest you buy one immediately).  If you don't have one of these two items, then indeed, making the sauce by hand in a mortor and pestle could be time consuming...although I bet it really isn't that hard...maybe I will try sometime.  In the meantime, here is how to make one of my family's favorite dishes.  I have substituted tomatoes for the potatoes in the traditional dish, which I think makes for a fresher dish.


Feeds 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as a side dish

For the pesto sauce

2 bunches basil
50 grams parmesan
75 grams pine nuts
pinch salt
1 to 2 garlic cloves, according to your taste
about 1/3 cup olive oil

For the pasta
150 grams haricot vert
300 grams cherry tomatoes
400 grams spaghetti or other pasta

Garnish
grated parmesan
a sprinkle of pine nuts


Put a big of water to boil.  Don't forget to liberally salt it.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, prepare your pesto.  In
your food processor, put in a pinch of salt, the pine nuts, parmesan,
garlic and basil. Add in about half of the oil.  Pulse to mix.  If the mixture seems dry and is not grinding smoothly, add some more oil.  You want a thick paste that still has some texture.  You can always add more olive oil if necessary.  Taste.  It should be very flavorful. If it tastes a bit flat, then add a pinch more salt or some more parmesan.  If it is too strong, then add a bit more pine nuts to give it a creamier mellow taste.  Remember, though that the flavor will be very diluted by the pasta so it should be strong.  Set aside.

Prepare the green beans by chopping off the tops and tails.  I like to chop mine in half because it makes it easier to eat.  Slice each cherry tomato in half.

When the water is boiling, add in your pasta and cook for the number of minutes it says on the packet.  About 3 to 4 minutes before the pasta is done, put in the green beans.  When the time is up, take a mug or measuring cup and scoop out a cup of the pasta water and set aside.  Drain the pasta and green beans in a colander. Put the pasta and beans back in the pot (or in a big serving bowl) and pour over the pesto sauce.  Using a big pair of tongs, toss the pasta until the pesto evenly coats the pasta.  If it seems a bit dry, add a bit of the pasta water.  Add the tomatoes, and do a last toss.

Serve hot with more grated parmesan and a sprinkle of pine nuts.





Monday, January 12, 2015

Slow Cooker: Carnitas Tacos and Borolotti Bean Soup

Meal 1: The best tacos ever!
Sweden has gone crazy for texmex.  The stores are filled with brightly wrapped flour tortillas and packaged taco spice mix. Friday night tacos has become a tradition all over the country, complete with crispy corn taco shells and jarred salsa.  For
Meal 2: Wonderful, warming soup!
me, this is a blast from the past as I re-live my 1970s Amerian childhood. To be honest, I am quite fond of a good crispy taco, even one with ground beef spiced out of a packet and packaged taco shells.  It is comforting and it tastes good.  It has nothing, however, to do with a taco as the Mexicans eat them, as a street food, and one of the most delectable things on earth, in my opinion.

One of my favorite tacos (although I really love them all) is carnitas...shredded crispy bits of pork, topped with a bit of onion, cilantro, and avacado, all wrapped in a freshly made soft corn tortilla.  Here in Sweden, the only way I am going to get that is to make it myself.  And really, it is not hard.  Except for the tortillas; I will have to make do with flour instead of corn tortillas.

This dish is easy to make on a weeknight, if you have the help of one of my favorite tools...you guessed it, the slow cooker!  Just pop the pork in and when you come home in the evening, the delicious scent of roasted pork will have filled your kitchen.  Then you simply shred or chop the pork, chop up some toppings, lay them out and let everyone make their own! 

To be really authentic with the pork, after you chop it up, you should get some crispy edges in.  I like to simply stick my chopped up pork under the broiler until some pieces are crispy but others are still moist and juicy.  However, if this step is too fiddly, just skip it. 

I also love this recipe because the meat can be served in so many ways.  I like to double the amount of meat I need so I can get at least two meals out of it.  With one half of the meat, I will have tacos.  The next day,  I will have bean and pork soup.  Other choices would be to serve the pork  on a bed of rice with some stir-fried veggies and soysauce.  Or, if I was even lazier, I could make a pulled pork sandwich by just mixing the meat with a bit of BBQ sauce and spreading it over a crusy baguette.  Either way, this is easy and all kinds of good!

Basic Pork Recipe
Enough for 2 meals for 4 to 6 persons


4 to 6 pound pork shoulder (about 2 kilos)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
grated zest of one orange
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

The night before you want the pork, mix together spices in a bowl.  You can choose your own spices, depending on what you like and what you have in your cupboard.  For carnitas, oregano, cumin, and orange zest are traditional.  Rub spice mixture all over pork shoulder, rubbing vigorously.  Put the pork in your slow cooker bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Don't be tempted to cut off any outside fat on your pork shoulder. These fat bits will melt down and will add incredible flavor and moistness to your pork.

The next morning, put the slow cooker bowl with meat (nothing else, no oil or water is necessary) in the slow cooker and turn on.  Cook at the setting from 6 to 10 hours, depending on when you need your meat to be ready.  If you do not have a slow cooker, you can simply put the meat in the oven in a covered casserole dish.  Cook at 350 degrees for 3 hours, until the meat is tender and falling apart.

When the cooking is finished, take the meat out of the bowl.  Pour any accumulated juices in another bowl or jug.  Shred the meat with two forks into bite sized pieces.  Don’t discard the fatty part!  This will crisp up beautifully in the broiler. Wet the shredded meat with some of the juices that you saved.  If you would like, at this point you can put the shredded meat in the oven with the broiler on until some of the pieces go a bit crispy.  This pork is so delicious, that you have to stop yourself from eating it all right away with your fingers.  I am sure you can think of nice ways to serve this delicious meat, but here are some of my favorite ways:

Mexican Carnitas Tacos
Serves 6

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped finely
1 yellow or white onion, chopped finely
1 avocado, peeled, and chopped into small pieces
Corn tortillas, either purchased or home-made (warmed in microwave or oven)

Put out all the garnishes in bowls and allow everyone to make their own tacos by taking a warmed tortilla, place some meat along the center, garnish with the cilantro, onion, avocado and tomato, as you please.  Consume quickly.

Borlotti Bean and Pork Soup
Serves 6 to 8
This soup will be subtly flavored with the spices that were used on the pork rub, so the added flavorings are simply  onion and garlic.
About 1 pound (500 grams) dried borlotti beans or other beans of your choice.
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves
2 to 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
250 grams frozen chopped kale or spinach (about half a bag)
salt and pepper to taste
Leftover pork and any juices
parsley and parmesan cheese to garnish

The night before you want to make the soup, pour the dried beans into a large bowl and cover generously with water and soak them over night.  In the morning, drain the beans and put them into the slow cooker, along with the leftover pork and juices.  Chop up the onion and the garlic cloves and add to the pot.  Add in the frozen kale.  Add water until it covers the beans by an inch or so.  Add in 2 vegetable cubes and a generous grinding of pepper.  Turn on the cooker and let cook for  6 to 8 hours.  You can also simply do this in a big pot on the stove.  Put the ingredients in the pot, bring the water to a boil, and then turn down the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer.  When the beans are tender, the soup is done.  Taste the soup and add another bouillon cube if it needs more salt.  Serve with chopped parsley and grated parmesan on top.


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Lax Pudding

I had some leftover gravad lax from my New Year dinner.  This does not happen very often but I am always delighted when it does because then I have the makings of a hearty Lax Pudding. This is a classic Swedish dish which I first had for lunch in the famous Östermalms Saluhall market in Stockholm.  Nestled in this beautiful indoor food market are a variety of restaurants which serve delicious seafood.  A huge square of this pudding, swimming in butter, gives you plenty of energy for an afternoon of shopping!  This homemade version manages to taste rich and light at the same time.  A salad of arugula and fennel,lightly tossed in some lemon and olive oil, is an untraditional but perfect companion.

This recipe, which I adapted from my favorite Swedish cooking book, assumes that you are making it from scratch, so you do a quick and dirty salting of the fish, which is much easier than it sounds.

Serves 4 to 5

1 ¾ pounds (800 grams) of salmon
Salt
2 onions
Butter for frying and to melt for garnish
1 ¾ pounds (800 grams) waxy potatoes
1 big bunch dill
4 eggs
1 ¼ cup (3 deciliters) milk
½ cup (1 deciliter) cream
Pepper to taste

First, you have to salt the salmon.  Slice the salmon thinly.  Sprinkle each slice with salt on both sides.  Store in the refrigerator for at least three hours.  Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water until just done (15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes).  Cool, peel and slice.

When you are ready to put together the pudding, dice the onion and fry in butter until until translucent and just starts to color.  Chop up the dill but save a few sprigs for a garnish.

Set the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Grease your dish with butter; either a cake tin with a detachable rim (if you want a elegant cake) or a baking dish.  If you use the spring form pan, make sure it does not leak by running some water in it and seeing if it drips out.  If it does leak, you can wrap the pan in tin-foil to avoid a big mess (don't ask how I know this).

Put in a thin layer of salmon.  Add a layer of potato.  Season lightly with peppar.  You do not need additional salt because the samlon is already heavily salted. Sprinkle on some of the onions and dill.  Continue to add layers of salmon and potato, seasoning, onion, and dill. Press the filling down a bit with your hands.  You should have 2 layers of salmon and 2 to 3 layers of potato.

Beat together the eggs, milk and cream and pour the mixture into the tin or baking dish.  Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the pudding is lightly browned on the edges and the custard is set.  If you baked the pudding in a spring form pan, slide a thin knife around the edge before taking off the rim.


Serve hot with melted butter poured over the top.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

New Year's Supper: Luxurious but Easy

This New Year, I felt for something special but really couldn't be bothered to spend the whole day cooking a dinner.  It would just be family, so I decided on a menu of foods that we really love to eat and to eat the way we love, by which I mean lots of little things eaten at the bar in the kitchen, rather than a sit down formal affair.

To start, we had Gravad Lax.  My father-in-law, a former butcher and fish monger pronounced it excellent, which is in my book, the highest praise possible.

Then, we had my version of Oysters Rockefeller.  This delectable dish is supposed to have been created by the famous New Orleans restaurant Antoine's and named after the then American's richest family.  There are many recipes out there but it is claimed that no one has recreated the original correctly.  I don't care about that, however, because my version tastes delicious and everyone that I have ever made it for has been equally entranced.

Up next was a dish of scallops that Peter recreated after eating them at the wonderful restaurant Fäiviken near Åre.  At that magical meal, we were served the largest scallops we had ever seen, from Norway we were told, served simply in its own shell with a bit of butter and set to cook over juniper smoke.  There really isn't a recipe for this.  You put a pat of butter into the scallop shell and put them over the BBQ which has been topped with juniper branches and let the smoke infuse the scallops, while the heat cooks them. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good photo of these.

Our main course was a pasta with lobster sauce, where I was trying to recreate the wonderful pasta I have had several times in Italy. The secret to infusing the sauce with lobster flavor is to fry the shells in the oil that you will use in the dish.  It is impossible to recreate the flavor of eating this dish while sitting on a sunny terrace in Italy, but I was pleased enough with the result to eat a third helping, which I do not advise but seemed a very good idea at the time.

Finally, we finished with some madeleines and a rich salted chocolate rye cookie, made famous by the San Francisco bakery Tartine, but which I had for the first time at the Green Rabbit here in Stockholm.  Do not think I was so ambitious as to make two desserts.  The madeleine batter takes just a few minutes to throw together and I had some left over chocolate cookie dough in the freezer, which I garnished with candied orange peel instead of sea salt.

After all of that, I could barely move, so I waddled over to the sofa and lay down, nursing my excellent glass of Quinta Do Vallado 10 Year old Tawny Port.  And fell asleep well before midnight. Which was fine by me.  Happy New Year!

 Oysters Rockefeller

Allow at least 2 per person, or 6 if you are greedy.

The hardest thing about Oysters Rockefeller is to shuck the oysters.  Luckily, Peter is excellent and this task and does it happily.  If you don’t know how to do it, you can find a good description here.

2 dozen oysters, shucked on the half-shell
One package frozen spinach, about 500 grams
150 to 200 grams bacon, diced finely
About 1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan to garnish
Breadcrumbs to garnish

Heat some olive oil or butter in a pan on medium heat and add the bacon, diced fine.  When the bacon is cooked, almost to how you like to eat it, add in a big sploge of cream and the packet of frozen spinach.  Stir occasionally while the spinach thaws and cooks for a minute.  Salt and pepper to taste.  The spinach will let out a bit of water, so let the water cook down so that the cream is thick, about 10 minutes.  If you think it does not look creamy enough, add some more cream.  Be careful not to salt too much, because the oysters will be salty.  If you like, you can add the juice from the oysters into the spinach which will add both salt and bit of sea flavour. 

When the oysters are shucked, arrange them on a baking pan.  You can use the other half of the shell to try to stabilize them so that they lay nicely on the tray.  Put a good tablespoon or so of the spinach mixture on each oyster, smoothing the mixture over so that the oyster is covered.  If you have leftover spinach, it makes a good omelette filling for your breakfast the next day.  Sprinkle a bit of breadcrumbs and a generous layer of parmesan over each oyster.  Bake in a hot oven, about 220 C (425 f) for about 10 minutes or until the parmesan is nicely coloured and the spinach is bubbling.  Eat while hot.

Lobster Pasta


Serves 4 to 6 persons
2 cooked medium sized lobsters
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 onion or a couple of shallots
4 garlic cloves
One packet cherry tomatoes (minus the ones your son ate during the day)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Splash of white wine (or more lemon juice)
Large handful of fresh basil
250 grams of spaghetti
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried red chili pepper to taste, if desired

Remove all the meat from the lobster, reserving the shells.  Do this by splitting the lobster in half.  Pull out the tail meat.  Remove each claw by twisting and use a knive to cut the shells so that you can remove the meat.  Chop the meat roughly into bite sized pieces.  You can also get the meat out of each tiny leg by using a rolling pin along the leg but I usually can’t be bothered.

Heat a large pot of water, add some salt and cook the spaghetti according to the instructions.

Meanwhile, chop the onions and garlic finely.  Quarter each cherry tomato.  Chop the basil coarsely.

Heat up a large frying pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Fry the lobster shells on medium high heat for a few minutes until you can smell the lobster scent and the oil takes on some color from the shells.  Remove the shells, shaking them to keep as much oil as possible in the pan.


Throw in the pan the onions and let cook on medium heat until translucent.  Throw in the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring to keep the garlic from burning.  Add in the tomatoes, lemon juice, lemon zest, splash of wine, and chili pepper, if desired.  Cook for about ten minutes until the tomatoes start to break down.  Season with salt and pepper.  

About two minutes before the pasta is done, throw in the lobster pieces and basil, reserving a bit for garnish and heat gently.  Add a further tablespoon or two of olive oil. Taste the mixture and correct the seasoning.  If the mixture seems to be a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water.  When the spaghetti is cooked, add to the mixture and toss until the spaghetti is fully coated with the sauce.  Garnish with basil.  It is not considered “correct” to eat seafood pastas with parmesan, but add some anyway, if you like.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Homemade Gravad Lax and Mustard Dill Sauce (Hovmästarsås)

 Gravad Lax which means buried salmon is an ubiquitous dish throughout Scandinvia.  Unlike the “lox” in the US, gravad lax is unsmoked and cured only with a mixture of salt and sugar.  The ratio of salt to sugar is the subject of much debate in Sweden and every family has their own recipe.  I didn’t realize how good it could be until Peter made it for me.  It is ridiculously easy to make, but you have to plan ahead since it needs a few days to cure. Peter’s mother is famous for her gravad lax and she has a special rock that she uses once a year at Christmas to weigh down the salmon.  Peter has searched for a similar perfect stone, and we finally found one which now sits on our window sill at our summer house.

In Sweden, the gravad lax would be served thinly sliced with the mustard sauce on the side as a starter.  I eat the leftovers the next day, American style, on a baguette slathered with cream cheese!  The fish keeps in the refrigerator for a week or so, if you keep it wrapped.  

2 large fillet of boned salmon with the skin on, total about 1.5 to 2 kilos
1/3 cup salt
½ cup sugar
White pepper
Lots of dill

Check that the salmon is well boned by smoothing your fingers over the flesh side of the fish.  If you feel any bones, use a pair of tweezers to pull them out. 

Mix the salt and sugar together.  Pepper generously the salmon sides and then sprinkle the sugar-salt mixture evenly over the flesh side of both salmon pieces so that there is a thin layer over the entire fish, making sure that all the flesh is covered.  

Roughly chop the dill. Take a dish that will fit the salmon, and sprinkle some dill on the bottom. Put a piece of the fish, skin side down in the dish.  Sprinkle a generous layer of dill on the flesh of the fish. Take the other piece of salmon and put it on top of the first pieces of salmon, flesh sides together, like a sandwich.  Sprinkle some dill over the skin. 

Put plastic wrap over the dish, making sure to smooth it over the top of the salmon.  Take a weight, like a large stone and put it on top of the fish.  If you don’t have a stone the right size, find a plate or something else that is about the size of the fish, and then you can put some canned food or other heavy item on top of that.  Put in the refrigerator and leave to cure.  

Flip the salmon over every day.  The sugar and salt will melt, leaving a brine. The fish will be cured in two to three days, depending on the thickness of the salmon.  However, for the best results, continue curing for a week.  To serve, slice the salmon very thinly, arrange on a plate and serve with the classic mustard sauce, below.

Mustard Sauce (Hovmästarsås)
2 table spoons of brown mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
A few drops of Worchestersauce
Half a teaspoon of white pepper
1 tablespoon water
Half a cup of vegetable oil
1 small bunch dill, chopped fine


Mix all the ingredients together, except for the dill, until the sugar is fully dissolved into the sauce.  Take the finely chopped dill and mix into the sauce.  Chill for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.