Want to learn about Nordic food? Looking for Nordic recipes? Read Mikkel Karstad’s guide below.
Although eating seasonally, locally and farm-to-table has become more popular recently, these were always essential methods of growing and eating in Nordic cuisine. Recipes are multi-regional, made up of dishes that distinctly taste of nature from across Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.
Cooking styles were governed by terrains, seasons and climates where certain ingredients could only be available at specific times. This meant that the art of food preservation was fundamental in home kitchens, for surviving the food-scarce winter months. Traditional techniques of preservation such as canning, pickling, fermentation, drying and smoking were deeply integrated into what became signature styles of Nordic food prep, from smoked salmon and mackerel to pickled herring and meatballs served with lingonberry jam.
The passionate resurgence of these methods with chefs and their menus is what has put the new Nordic Cuisine movement on the culinary map. It’s that unique combination of traditional and modern food integrity, one which is committed to changing ingredients with the seasons, having foods available within a close radius of their location, devoted to foraging, fishing or farming, and supportive of organic and sustainable growers and producers, which forms the foundation from which their clever creativity can springboard from.
Sliced fennel, apple and smoked mackerel come together in this fresh Nordic salad. Serve at lunch, or as a starter accompanied by good bread.
Chanterelles are plentiful in Nordic countries and are ripe for foraging but you can sub in other meaty mushrooms such as oyster instead. Spruce tips give a subtle piney flavour to the pickle – these can be foraged or bought online.