For Foodies (food enthusiasts) nationwide — but especially here in MN — the buzz has been about “New Nordic” cuisine. The emphasis for this has been about the nordic tradition of using what is local and seasonal. Last month, DAC Board President, Susan Jacobsen, played host and executive chef for the monthly Wednesday Luncheon (Onsdag Frokost) at the Danish American Center serving a menu inspired by this movement.
What follows is her account of that lunch and some recipes for you to try at home.
New Nordic cooking is Denmark’s latest contribution to healthy living in modern times. It is not just new recipes, it is a philosophy or way of thinking about food with values like prioritizing local ingredients, eating healthy grains and vegetables and eating less meat. In April, we offered our first vegetarian meal at Onsdag Frokost and while a little surprising for our diners, it met with success.
The first course consisted of three green vegetables. Asparagus is one of the first spring vegetables, fresh soy beans are quintessentially Minnesotan, and green beans rounded the dish out with a familiar vegetable. Dress vegetables in olive oil, although butter is also good. The finishing salt we used is from a small company in Portland, Oregon. Jacobsen Salt was founded by a Danish American, Ben Jacobsen, who learned about artisanal salt while studying and working in Denmark. When he returned to the US he wondered why we had to import sea salt. His salt has taken the US culinary scene by storm. Hazelnuts paired with leeks and mushrooms combine Danish ingredients in a rich and satisfying pate. To me, it gives the same satisfaction as leverpostej and makes vegetarians feel welcome at family meals. Dessert was a lighter version of custard with soaked prunes, another traditional Danish ingredient.
Here are some of the recipes you can try.
April 2015 Onsdag Frokost Menu
- Asparagus spears, 6-8 per person
- Fresh frozen soy beans (Edamane) 1//2 cup per person
- Green beans, 6-8 per person
- Jacobsen salt – or other large flake finishing salt
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Roll asparagus spears in olive oil.
- Roast asparagus spears on cookie sheet at 350° for 15 minutes or until done.
- Cook soybeans in water. Drain. Dress with olive oil.
- Cook green beans in water. Drain. Dress with olive oil.
- Place vegetables on plate and sprinkle with salt.
- 3 leeks, (8 ounces) finely sliced
- 2 ounces olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 pound Portobello or Crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 ounces hazel nuts, finely chopped
- 5 ounces fresh breadcrumbs
- 5 ounces double cream
- 8 ounces, grated Havarti cheese
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 T soft butter with 1 T soft breadcrumbs for mold
- Preheat oven to 300°
- Sauté leeks in oil until soft. Add garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Reduce and cook, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Add nuts, breadcrumbs and cream.
- Cool for 15-20 minutes and add cheese and egg. Pour mixture into a buttered mold coated with breadcrumbs. Bake at 300˚ F until firm, approximately 45 minutes. Let set for 15-20 minutes before serving for best texture. Serve the pate warm or cold.
For Danish Smørrebrod
- 10 slices rye pumpernickel bread
- 5 apples or ½ Fuji apple thinly diced per serving
- Butter rye bread or wheat bread and cover with lettuce
- Place slices of pate on bread with lettuce.
- Mix apple with lemon juice for topping.
Adapted from Smørrebrod – Danish Open by Katrine Klinken © 2008
- 5 cups whole milk
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup or about 9 ounces pitted prunes
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Pour one cup of the milk into a saucepan and cook the prunes on low heat until they have absorbed all of the liquid.
- Boil remaining four cups of milk and remove from heat.
- Mix eggs, sugar, and vanilla and beat well. Add flour slowly beating to avoid lumps.
- Pour the boiled milk into the egg, sugar mixture and mix well.
- Butter a baking pan and cover the bottom with prunes. Pour milk mixture over the top and bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
(I am not related to Ben Jacobsen, but I am a great fan of his salt.)