Today is a big day here in the Suppertime Blues Kitchen! Because today, I get to share something special with you that a friend of mine and I have been quietly cooking up this past month or so. We decided on a bit of a recipe swap challenge across the ocean – Ron in Sweden, me in Kansas – and today we get to see how it all turned out.
So, ladies and gentlemen, mina damer och herrar, allow me to share my culinary adventure of Ron’s Orrholmens Laxgryta. And I’d be much obliged if, when you’re done here, you’d also check out my Kansas City-Style Pulled Pork and BBQ Sauce over at Ron’s Lost in a Pot!
The greatest joys I’ve had writing this food blog come from the passionate and generous people I’ve met and the incredible foods they’ve brought to our table. Underpinning so much of my passion for cooking is my belief that food can help join us together and bridge so many boundaries across cultures, borders, and our differences in general.
Every day, we all have to eat. So why not share a table and celebrate each other while we do? The most powerful words we can say to each other are I’m glad you’re here. Followed by try the soup. Oh, and a piece of that cake too. It’s so good.
I confess my knowledge of all-things-Swedish is limited. It’s a bit broader than IKEA and the Chef from the Muppets, but not too much. I did use one of my wooden spoons from IKEA almost as a talisman while making this dish, hoping it somehow granted me luck. (Assuming the shot of akvavit wasn’t working.)
There is a saying that there are only two kinds of fish available in Kansas: catfish and frozen. Okay, I say that, so it’s not a real saying, but you know it’s true. Today I have just over a pound of beautiful wild-caught Alaskan salmon fillets along with about a pound of wild-caught Gulf of Mexico shrimp (31/40). Those two bodies of water are almost as far apart as the East Coast of the U.S. is from Sweden!
(As you might imagine, while I cooked this the cats hungrily prowled the kitchen floor driven purely by smells and instincts.)
The recipe calls for 300ml – 400ml of heavy cream. I chose some from a local dairy, glass bottle and all, where you poke through the clotted stuff at the top when you open it. Go big or go home.
I also needed 200ml of crème fraiche. I know you can get this at the grocery store and I also know it’s crazy expensive. If you’ve never had it, since it’s nowhere near as common in the States as it is in Europe, imagine a richer, less tangy, and thicker sour cream. Wonderful stuff with which to cook. (Stir a couple spoons of it into your scrambled eggs right at the end. Mind-blowing.)
Making your own crème fraiche is super easy. Take a non-reactive container, like a Mason jar, and pour in a cup of heavy cream. Then stir in a tablespoon of buttermilk. Close the jar and leave it there on the counter at room temperature for about twelve hours. Then stir it and stick it in the refrigerator. It should be good for a couple of weeks.
The tricky ingredient was Lobster Base. Just not something in our grocery stores (I checked). But Amazon.com to the rescue and a jar of Better than Bouillon Lobster Base hit the mailbox within a couple of days. Our oldest happened to be here that afternoon and neither of us could resist our combined curiosity so we made a simple broth according to the directions on the label. Just a tablespoon of base stirred into a cup of boiling water which I then poured it into a coffee cup for us to taste.
Wow. It reminded us of a luxurious tomato soup. That tasted like lobster, of course.
We need grilled cheese.
Quickly a bit of butter spread over two slices of local bakery crusty bread, into a hot skillet, grate some cheddar and a bit of gruyère over it, and bam! Tear it in half and dunk into the broth…heaven. Experiment done, curiosity sated, expectations for supper raised.
I will leave the cooking directions to Ron’s recipe (below). The actual preparation for such a delicious dish was quite simple though. Once I’d prepared the seafood, everything came together very quickly.
Confession time: I did not use lumpfish roe for garnish. I’m not much of a roe person to begin with, but I went in search of it anyway and the one affordable option I found didn’t pass my label tests. So, no go. #realfood
With the salmon stew as the main dish, I served boiled new potatoes with a light drizzle of melted butter and a smattering of fresh dill. A spinach salad with mushrooms, sweet peppers, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and some cucumber started the meal. And of course, a loaf of crusty bread from a local bakery to mop up as needed. We were not going to waste even a drop.
The house smelled amazing and with everyone seated, supper was served.
They tasted it, looked up (a bit wider-eyed), looked back down at their plates, then looked up again, and smiled.
I suppose it goes without saying — second helpings were had.
Ron, thank you for sharing the recipe with us and, sincerely, thank you for all of your help and encouragement these past months. Our best to Mrs. and Chloe. We hope you enjoyed the BBQ.
Salmon (and Shrimp) Poached in a Lobster Cream Sauce (Orrholmens Laxgryta)
- 18 oz. fresh salmon fillet (or frozen), skin and pin bones removed
- 2 - 4 tablespoons lobster base
- 1 - 2 tablespoons water
- 6+3/4 ounces crème fraiche (200 ml)
- 10 - 13+1/2 ounces heavy cream (300 ml - 400 ml)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 - 4 tablespoons fresh snipped dill + tips for garnishing More dill can be added if you like more.
- 1 jar lumpfish roe (optional) Garnish.
- 8 - 16 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Prepare salmon making sure to remove skin and pin bones. Cut salmon fillets into 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 pieces. Let salmon come to room temperature.
- In a small bowl mix your lobster base and water.
In a mixing bowl, combine the crème fraiche, cream, and Dijon mustard.
Place the cream mixture in the stovetop pan and add ½ of the lobster stock with the cream mixture. Taste and add more stock as needed, to taste. (See note.)
Bring to a simmer and hold for about five minutes. Don’t let the cream sauce boil.
Once the cream sauce is up to temperature, place the salmon pieces (and shrimp if using) into the cream sauce.
- Simmer fish (and shrimp if using) for a few minutes until done. It will only take a few so watch it closely.
- Remove from heat and stir in the dill, being careful not to break up the fish.
Place about 1/4 teaspoon of lumpfish roe on each of the fish pieces (if using).
Garnish with dill and serve at the table.
- Usual cooking utensils
- One stovetop pan that will hold the cream sauce, so it will cover the fish while cooking. Pan, should be suitable for table service as this dish doesn’t transfer well. We use a Le Creuset 1-1/2 qt. Braiser when we make this dish.
Here in Sweden this meal is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, green peas and garden salad. The sauce is rich and full of flavor so use a floury potato such as Russet, so it sops up all that sauce. However, it’s also nice served with rice (Basmati) and sugar snap peas or other green vegetable.
I used about 3/4 of the lobster base and water mix. -- Bill