Scandinavian cuisine has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, with dishes like meatballs, pickled herring, and gravlax making their way onto menus all around the world. But what is the history behind these dishes, and how can you make them at home? In this blog post, we'll explore the origins of some of the most popular Scandinavian dishes and provide you with some easy-to-follow recipes.
Meatballs are a staple in Scandinavian cuisine, and they're often served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and pickled cucumber. The history of meatballs in Scandinavia dates back to the Viking Age, when they were made from ground meat, onions, and spices. Today, meatballs are still a favorite dish in Scandinavia, and you can find them in every grocery store and restaurant.
Here's a simple recipe for Swedish meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp butter
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, onion, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a golf ball.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides.
Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Pickled herring is a popular dish in Scandinavian countries, especially during the holiday season. The herring is usually served cold with boiled potatoes, sour cream, and chopped red onion. The history of pickled herring in Scandinavia dates back to the Middle Ages, when herring was a common food source for the poor.
Here's a simple recipe for pickled herring:
- 1 pound herring fillets
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaf, and black peppercorns.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, place the herring fillets and onion slices.
Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the herring and onions.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.
Gravlax is a cured salmon dish that originated in Scandinavia. The salmon is typically marinated in a mixture of salt, sugar, and dill, and then sliced thinly and served with crackers or bread. The history of gravlax dates back to the Middle Ages, when fishermen would cure their catch in salt and then bury it in the sand to preserve it.
Here's a simple recipe for gravlax:
- 1 pound salmon fillet, skin on
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- In a small bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, chopped dill, and crushed peppercorns.
- Place the salmon fillet skin side down on a piece of plastic wrap.
- Cover the salmon with the salt and sugar mixture, making sure to coat it evenly on both sides.
- Place the lemon slices on top of the salmon.
- Wrap the salmon tightly in the plastic wrap, making sure there are no air pockets.
- Place the wrapped salmon in a baking dish and place a heavy object on top, such as a heavy plate or can.
- Refrigerate the salmon for 48-72 hours, flipping it over every 12 hours.
- Once the salmon is fully cured, remove it from the plastic wrap and thinly slice it.
Scandinavian cuisine has a rich history, and these popular dishes are just a small sample of the delicious food you can enjoy from this region. With these simple recipes, you can bring a taste of Scandinavia to your own kitchen and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.