The Nordic Kitchen – Claus Meyer
by Nick Harman - Sunday May 8, 2016 12:05 pm
Are we still mad for Nordic food? Not so long ago it was threatening to be the hippest thing in London, almost eclipsing pulled pork and burgers as the bloggers ‘amayzing!’ food of choice.
Well things have calmed down a bit, it’s a unique cuisine that perhaps is too sophisticated (and often too expensive) to be a craze and it can have a certain asceticism that doesn’t sit well with young London, an ascetic, born from cold climate and dark days.
Claus Meyer remembers growing up in Denmark in the sixties, a time when his mother opened canned meatballs, used powdered potatoes and stuck to the overriding precept that the food had to be filling and on the table in thirty minutes from her walking in the door.
Time spent in France opened Claus’s eyes to other ways of eating and he returned to Denmark to start food companies, cook food on national TV and write over fourteen cookbooks.
He is a bit of a legend in his home country, although he now lives in New York where he is about to establish a food hall and restaurant at Grand Central Terminal, bringing culinary concepts, flavours and ideas rooted in the history and the landscapes of the Nordic countries to Gotham. He is the initiator of the New Nordic Cuisine Movement, co-founders of the Nordic Food Lab and of Noma and is all about the produce of his birth country and exploring its potential.
This book he describes as a kind of manifesto; light sauces with low fat, pickling and curing as well as frying and braising, seasonality (of course) and as much energy from plants as possible and, if foraged, so much the better.
And this is not Noma style nosh with ants and lichen; it’s family-friendly and divided into four seasonal chapters to make it easy to make the most of what’s available at the time. For this there is a simple list in each seasonal section listing both wild and cultivated. Of course some of the wild stuff is native to Denmark, so don’t bother rooting around your local park for it.
Lot of mackerel recipes, a fish that some people find too ‘fishy’ but which is rich in oils and there’s plenty of it in the sea. In a book packed with recipes, around three to a page so not every one gets a photo, there are also recipes including Creamy Root Vegetable Soup with Crispy Bacon, Braised Pork Cheeks with Beer and Plum Vinegar, Pan-fried Mullet with Cucumber and Peas in Dill Butter and Rhubarb Cake.
This is a book to revive jaded palates, to inspire new combinations and to give you ideas of what to do with that dill - scandis do love their dill.