9 January 2009

A Culinary Tour Around the World - Norway

Salmon Roll with Butter Sauce and Potato Galette

Joan of Foodalogue, is helping to promote hunger awareness through a new event, A Culinary Tour Around the World. Joan will be travelling virtually wherever her imagination takes us for the next little while through food, sights, and cultural diversity. Why not join Joan and reach outside your comfort zone? How about meeting her in any one of her itinerary stops and presenting your interpretation of the cuisine from that destination to your readers? Who wouldn't enjoy taking a journey around the world even if it is from the comfort of your favourite armchair??

Joans first stop on your culinary adventure is Norway!!!!

Mitt navn er Val (My name is Val)

Snakker du engelsk? (Do you speak English?)

Beklager, jeg snakker ikke norsk!!!!
(I'm sorry I don't speak Norwegian!!!!)

Finding yourself in another country can sometimes be a little intimidating if you don't have your friends or relatives to guide you and see you through. Joan and I have each other on this virtual trip so no worries. Of course many Norwegians speak English so we won't feel like a fish out of water when we ask for our hearty plate of Lutefish.

To ease myself into the culture and foods of Norway I am going to spend a fun filled week at one of its fine hotels immersing myself in the culture and making new friends. My choice would be to attend Food & Wine courses at Fossheim Turisthotell . Imagine a whole week full of aroma, flavour, and making new friends where the entire experience leaves a lasting impression. I will spend the week learning all about food and food culture then relax in the evening with a delicious meal and a glass of wine with my new found friends. Since it is the middle of a fine Norwegian winter now would be a perfect time to go for some skiing and snowshoeing. Chefs, Kristoffer Hovland and Ståle Johansen, have many years experience and are proud of their profession, so , it goes without being said that I will learn a lot of valuable skills with the added bonus of sampling many tasty dishes. Of course I will have had to learn to cook in decilitres and my math skills and recipe conversion skills will be challenged to the max!!! I didn't realize there was yet another form of measurement available for recipes until I started doing my research. Who knew!!! Thank goodness for copious amounts of wine and a warming mug of Glogg!!!! Only kidding...perhaps!!!! My new friend Svein will gladly arrange wine courses and wine tasting sessions for me as well!!! Fossheim has also organised tailor made courses and activities where I will meet many of the locals and make instant friends in my group as well. Since this is a virtual tour from my living room I am spending my time immersed in the culture through my imagination and yours. Immersion in my opinion is the best way to travel and get to know a country by connecting with it's people.

Norway's coast line is 2650 kilometers long, which makes it quite natural that the local cuisine would be based on both wild and farm-raised fish and seafood. Norwegian food is typically quite simple and plain. In its traditional form it is largely based on the raw materials readily available in a country dominated by mountains, wilderness and the sea where the climate largely limits what other food they can produce themselves. The slow ripening process of everything that grows during the light Nordic summer imparts an extraordinary aroma to berries, fruits and vegetables, and the animals that graze on the succulent green grass provide meat with a distinctive full flavour. My reindeer steak with cranberries took on a flavour of its own accompanied by the jamgeitost (goat cheese) and fiskeboller (fish balls). For breakfast I had Rumgraut, a sour-cream porridge covered with melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. When they are in season you can try amber-coloured muiter (cloudberries), which I have tried in Newfoundland or loganberries.

Preserved fish, meats and produce play an important role in the Norwegian diet as a result of a desperate need to store food for the long and unproductive winter months. This has resulted in various combinations of smoking, drying, pickling and salting of fish and has resulted in some unique flavours! In Norway smoked salmon is cheaper than salami!!!! Smoked salmon is served in many different ways, as it's found throughout the world. For instance you could serve it with scrambled eggs, sandwiches, dill or mustard sauce. But other varieties of preserved fish require a stronger stomach!!!!! One of the most famous is the Lutefisk, a national speciality, particularly eaten at Christmas. Its production involves drying, treating with lye, salting, and boiling or baking, and results in a unique texture and flavour. It is an "acquired taste" but dishes don't come much more unique than this!!!

Norway is a modern, urbanized nation with a booming petroleum and technology industry. Modern Norwegian cuisine, although still strongly influenced by its traditional background, now bears the marks of globalization and urban restaurants sport the same selection you would expect to find anywhere in the world.

Joan has linked her virtual journey with our Social Network BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine. To use Joan's own words, "Over the past year or so, many of us have had to cut back on our discretionary spending but, to the best of my knowledge, we all still have food on the table. Millions of people do not. I am attaching this event to BloggerAid to help promote the effort to fight world famine. We begin with awareness. And, hopefully, awareness will lead to a call-to-action. Where possible, the event will include a glimpse of the culture and economy of the destination as well as a national dish and recipe. Hopefully, the 'trip' into a culture we may never know will motivate readers to participate in the fight against hunger via BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine or the World Food Programme and other worthy organizations."

I hope you have enjoyed my virtual tour with Joan to Norway. In honour of the trip I served this simple salmon dish at home with a Potato Galette ( which may be more French than Norwegian)but it looks pretty on the plate don't you think.

I will be hanging out in Norway with my imaginary friend Svein for the next little while Joan..meet up with you in Portugal in February. I hope you enjoy your stays in Poland , Germany and France!!!!!

**Salmon Roll with Butter Sauce and Potato Galette**
(Serves 4 for a first course)

450 g boned, skinned salmon
4 large or 8 small white or green asparagus
1 bunch parsley
1 lemon
ground white pepper

Butter sauce

200 g butter
1 shallot
1/2 dl (1/4 cup) cream
1 dl (1/4 cup) dry white wine
[ Norwegian conversion table]

Cook the asparagus, and allow it to cool. Cut the salmon fillet into 4 large, thin slices 10-12 cm in diameter. The slicing is a bit tricky, but give it a try. If it doesn't work, you can easily patch smaller slices together. Lay a slice of salmon flat on the kitchen counter. Place 1 or 2 stalks of the cooled asparagus in the centre of the slice. Season with salt and white pepper and roll the salmon around the asparagus. Cook the rolls on a rack in a steamer for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare Sauce: Mince the shallot and cook in white wine until the liquid is reduced to one tablespoon. Add cream and bring to the boil. Cut butter into small cubes and add little by little while stirring continuously. Use low heat and keep the sauce just under boiling point while adding the butter.

The sauce may separate if it boils, so keep an eye on the heat!

The sauce may be prepared ahead of time and reheated over boiling water. The shallot may be removed by straining before serving, or kept in the sauce.

Recipe from Norsk mat uten grenser, Universitetsforlaget

*Potato Galette*

1 large potato, peeled, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped finely

In a 4-inch skillet overlap potato slices making 3 layers, saute in butter until tender. Add salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon rosemary. Repeat this process with the remaining potatoes. (You can also bake the potatoes in a 4-inch creme brulee ramekin for about 15 minutes. I sliced the potatoes on my new Christmas present - a mandolin - so they were very thin, so cooking times may change)

NOTE: Potato galette may be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Looks so yummy! I like your plating. And most specially the rich butter sauce!

  2. Your potato galette is beautiful!

  3. OK...I'm taking the no longer existing SST Concorde and will meet you there shortly. You whet my appetite, Great job! I''ll be featuring round-up later in week.

  4. Val...such a wonderful and informative post! Your virtual tour was interesting! Oh! and thanks for nominating me! You're a real sweetie!

  5. Marvelous! A delicious and refined dish!



  6. There is another type of measurment? I barely have a grasp on metric and imperial!
    Thanks for bringing us with you on your trip, your meal is beautiful and would be great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  7. Val, we are in the same wave line. I hope I don't miss the deadline with all that's going on. Just kidding. Hope to post tomorrow. Hope some more of our friends will join Joan in one other of her stops if they have missed this one. There are many interesting places that Joan will be visiting us.

  8. I'm enjoying this Norwegian tour...that potato galette i a thing of beauty.

  9. Thanks for the fascinating post.

    I think I'd probably lose a lot of weight in Norway considering their love of salmon! :-D I would love to view some fjords and take in the summer sun though. A friend of mine was in Norway for the solstice and said it was one, big, countrywide party.

  10. I loved this post. I could almost see you actually being there. This is such a fun event that Joan is hosting!

  11. The queen of potatoes are at it again....good work Val!!!

  12. mmmm.... what a lovely meal... :)

  13. I really enjoyed this event and armchair travel...although the real thing is much better just harder on the bank account.

  14. Even virtual trips wear me out right now. But yours is making me smile.

  15. SOunds great...I will have to try this. Hope it comes out looking as good as yours!
    I also enjoyed reading about Norway!

  16. It absolutely does look beautiful on the plate, Valli. It looks so elegant with the asparagus and wonderful potato galette...like it is ready to be served in a fine, fanchy schmancy restaurant. Beautiful! And wouldn't it be nice to visit Norway? :-)

  17. I always learn something from your posts Val, and then I get to look at your wonderful recipes! It all looks so good!

  18. The galette is gorgeous. What a neat event too.

  19. What a great post! So informative too and what do I say about your plating - simply superb!

  20. I'm getting me some salmon tomorrow! Very good post!

  21. Sounds as if you're having a blast with your new wine-drinking buddies. :) Great post, Val. I really enjoyed hearing about your plans for your week in Norway. Imagination is a wonderful thing.

  22. Oh my gosh, I was just thinking about how I'd like some salmon, and voila ... here's your post! I love that creme sauce you made, and those potatoes ... Yum, yum, yum!

  23. I really love potatoes Val and I love your post. How great idea, is nice, really nice, I hope to travel with you, is nice. Gloria

  24. Excellent post. I hope to visit Norway in the near future as its close to CS's house in Sweden. I think Scandanavian food is very underated and so elegant.

  25. This was so much fun Val! I loved reading your stories about drinking Gløgg and eating Rommegrøt (although it is usually served at dinner time). You made me long for reindeer again, as it is truly my favorite of all the meats. And your dish is outstandingly beautiful!

  26. Val, Do you know how gorgeous that plate looks? You are truely the potato expert! I'm amazed at the awesome things you do with them!
    Really nice post, wish I could visit there one day.

  27. Such a beautiful presentation! Now I feel the need to rush out and buy a 4-inch skillet ;-)

  28. This is an awesome blog val...
    I love your blog and the design , the photos...
    you did an excellent job

    I am going to try this recipe and let you both know..I love Norway...
    part of me still in Scandinavia.

  29. I will definately be making something simialar to this recipe. I love the way the salmon looks all rolled up with the asparagus inside.

    Beautiful presentation.


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