A Grand read

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Iceland cooking

 This is a great winter cookbook! From the pictures of scenery in this book I realized I  must some day visit this place and conquer my fear of the cold!
 This book is an eye opener to a culture we did not know about. Many of the recipes  have to do with fish but there are still some dairy ones which you can make! A beautiful copy table volume, even if some of the recipes are too difficult for the average American to make.
. Even if I do not make  most of the  seafood recipes I  drew  inspiration from this cookbook. My favorite chapter was collecting seabird eggs. This is such a neat insight to the land.This is one of the most beautiful cookbooks you will ever find. The photography of the food, people, and landscapes are breathtaking. The recipes are surprising.
Not so much as  the kinds of recipes   but the chapter titles  !
The Bacalao Producer 
The Arctic Char Smoker 
The Rugbraud Baker
The Fisherman 
The Seabird Egg Collector
The Barley Farmer 
The Dairy Farmer
The Birch and Mushroom Forager 
The Sheep Farmer
The Hardfiskur Producer 
The Salt Maker 
The Goat Farmer 
The Blue Mussel and Dulse Harvester 

I loved how the author who has a  restaurant honors the people of the land.  "This book celebrates the cuisine and nation of a forward-thinking chef and the producers who supply his restaurant." Try this recipe and then order your book!
Bacalao Potatoes 
with fennel Ribbons and Sorrel Ash
Serves 4  |  Preparation time: about 1 hour (plus 24 hours to rehydrate the cod)

On a visit to northern Iceland, Gunnar and I stayed in an inviting apartment on the outskirts of Akureyri, the second largest town in the country (at a whopping eighteen thousand inhabitants) and Gunnar’s birthplace. The only thing our cozy abode lacked was blackout curtains. Not surprisingly, the blinding July sun that drenches the country in light twenty-four hours a day results in severe sleep deprivation for anyone not accustomed to it. Gunnar, of course, is accustomed to his nation’s days of perpetual light and slept soundly each night. Perhaps because he was not bleary-eyed by dinnertime (and because he is a naturally hospitable fellow), he took charge of the evening meal.

One of the first things he made was this creamy potato recipe incorporating Elvar’s bacalao. It was not his intention to prepare it every night, but we couldn’t seem to get enough of its comforting virtue. The bacalao infused it with just the right amount of brininess, and the pungent horseradish perked up any sleepy brains. It’s hearty enough to work as a main dish and also makes a fantastic side. One night, Gunnar served it on toast; on another, he substituted smoked haddock, an ideal replacement for the cod. The profusion of herbs he added was dictated by whatever we foraged that day. This dish, which is inspired by a popular lunch item at Dill, is festively attired with fennel ribbons, a soft-boiled egg, and sorrel ash—the latter a mainstay of the Nordic kitchen.

1 pound (450 g) salted cod
1 pound (450 g) waxy potatoes
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream, warmed

Sorrel Ash
Leaves from 1 bunch sorrel

To Serve
4 carrots, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces, and roasted
2 fennel stalks, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler (see note)
4 eggs, soft boiled
Freshly grated horseradish, for finishing

To make the potatoes, immerse the salted cod in cold water to cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, changing the water several times to remove as much salt as possible. Remove from the water and, if skin and bones are present, remove them. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and roast the cod until warmed through, about 8 minutes. Once it is cool enough to handle, break into flakes, and keep warm.

To make the sorrel ash, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the sorrel leaves in a single layer on the prepared pan and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, until blackened. Let cool to room temperature, then pulverize the leaves in a spice grinder, transfer to an airtight container, and store at room temperature until serving. The ash will keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Boil the potatoes in salted water to cover for 18 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain the potatoes, let cool just until they can be handled, then peel them, keeping the peel intact if possible.

In a saucepan, mash the warm potatoes and cream together until smooth. Add the warm cod and stir gently to incorporate. Keep warm.

To serve, spoon the potatoes into a bowl. Top with the carrots, a generous handful of fennel ribbons, a soft-boiled egg, and a spoonful of horseradish. Dust with sorrel ash.

To prevent browning, immerse the fennel ribbons in acidulated water until ready to use.

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