This blog chronicles the greatest gustatory hits of our food journeys around the world. Each one is worth going out of your way for.
Our first destination food discoveries to reveal is Norway.
The pastoral life inland is just as fertile, dominated by dairy and sheep farms: Villsau sheep, descendants of an ancient breed, yield lean, tender, clean-tasting meat, and Norway is just as famous for the purity of its dairy products. Cheeses, such as pungent pultost, a caraway-flavored cow's milk cheese, and geitost, a spreadable caramelised whey cheese, are special pleasures. And you can't think of a better lunch than lefse - Norway's potato flat bread- rolled around freh goat cheese and a generous layer of smoked salmon.
The purity of the ingredients has never been a secret, but in recent years it's garnered new appreciation from chefs, who have traveled abroad and dabbled in global cuisines, only to refocus their energies on developing a uniquely Nordic one, much like in the rest of the region.A small constellation of Michelin stars has appeared in Oslo, farmers' markets have sprung up for the first time in cities, and chefs are marrying refined technique with stellar local ingredients to create the sorts of dishes you encounter at the restaurant Oslo Spiseforretning (Oslo gate 15, 74/22/626-210, oslo-spiseforretning.no) that serves an earthy mushroom soup topped with a drizzle of a bright green emulsion made from ramslok, a wild allium known as Viking garlic, which was previously a stranger to fine-dining kitchens.
|Ramslok; Viking Garlic|
These days one can see chefs alongside regular folks, picking the best raspberries of summer, tiny blueberries that stain fingers indigo, lingonberries that glow like rubies, and pale-orange chanterelles that are eaten fresh and dried, destined for stews and roasts to brighten the long winter.
In Norway, foods that were once a means of survival are slowly becoming cherished for the pleasure they bring.
Fiskesuppe (Norwegian Fish Chowder)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded chopped
- 1 small leek, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large parsnip, peeled chopped
- 1 small celeriac, peeled chopped
- 4 medium new potatoes, peeled cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 cups fish stock
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 lbs boneless skinless fish fillets, cut into 2 inch pieces ( halibut, cod or haddock)
- 1/3 cup dill, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 lemon, juice of
- crusty bread, for serving
- Heat butter in a 6 qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, celery, onions, peppers, and leeks, and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring, until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips, celeriac, potatoes, stock, milk, cream, and Worcestershire; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Add fish, and continue to cook, stirring gently, until fish is cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Stir in dill, parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
- Serve with bread.