Monday, March 10, 2008

Seaside meal in a landlocked county

For urban dwellers it is great to just jump on a train and leave the pace of the city for the quiet countryside. I am privileged, as my good friends Øyvind and Stian, have a wonderful large house. They simply love a good meal and a late night party. Who could ask for more. We did not, but we made a great meal a Saturday three weeks ago.

Less is more - Italian bruscette

Less is more, this is also the fact talking of bruscetti, or Italian toasts. This was Øyvind's treat for us, a starter before the main meal.

And what could be a better blend of tastes than sweet cherry tomatoes lightly heated in garlic infused olive oil. Then served on rustic Italian bread with black olives, and a sprinkle of grated parmigiano on the top.

And a glass of red wine. Who can ask for more?

I can't.....

Smoked cod with mashed swede, and mushy peas with mint

I love smoked fish, and this particular Saturday we ended up at Knutstad & Holen, the one of the best, well stocked fish mongers I know, both on fresh and salt water fish. Funny really, as it is located in one of the few land locked counties of Norway. Landlocked - people in Hedmark county would object, as it is bordering Mjøsa the largest Norwegian lake.

We were looking for smoked haddock, but they had the next best thing - smoked cod. Very easy to prepare, but the secret is in the what to choose as vegetables. The salt fish needed a sweet contrast, and what better to make than mashed
swede and mushy peas with mint.

The fish was placed on a baking tray, I added a little water then covered it with tin foil and allowed to steam at 200 C / 400F for 10-15 minutes.

Roughly dice the swedes, and boil in salted water or stock until tender. Then mash.

Use frozen peas, add them to boiling water and boil for 1-2 minutes and drain. Add butter and allow to melt. Then pour peas, butter, and 4-5 mint leaves in a liquidizer and blend until smooth.

The swedes have much the taste of sweet potato mash, an intense honey flavour, the peas have a sweeter fresher taste enhanced by the mint.

We served the cod with boiled potatoes and melted butter - bliss!!

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