{Devil Gourmet FoodStyle Feature} The New Nordic

Smörgås with Sour Cream, New Potatoes, Herring, and Chives.

Smörgås with Sour Cream, New Potatoes, Herring, and Chives.

If your understanding of Scandinavian food consists of memories of the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show, and/or the food served at IKEA (including those unfortunate horsemeat headlines), I urge you to take another look.  New Nordic cuisine has earned its place of prominence right alongside classic French, Italian, and Spanish cooking in some of the most acclaimed kitchens around the world.

The world’s best restaurant three years running is not here in New York, but in Copenhagen. Chefs Rene Redzepi and Claus Meyer started the restaurant Noma with this New Nordic philosophy in 2004, and in the years since, the movement has become the toast of the culinary world.

Smörgås with Horseradish Cream, Gravlax, Butter Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Cucumbers.

Smörgås with Horseradish Cream, Gravlax, Butter Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Cucumbers.

While a trip to Noma might not be in the cards, New York City is stacked with ample New Nordic restaurants. Aquavit is the obvious choice, and the food there is perfection, but at a hefty cost. For a fantastic meal that won’t break the bank, Smörgås fits the bill. They have three locations in the city (Wall Street, West Village, and the Scandinavia House) and source their produce from their own eco farm upstate, Blenheim Hill Farm. Another smart pick is ACME, featuring locally sourced, seasonal produce with a Nordic flair.

How To Cook It

You can create some of your own New Nordic classics at home,  Let’s break out of Swedish meatball box! Scandinavian food usually doesn’t require many special ingredients, tools, or culinary prowess; the food is simple and speaks for itself.

Homemade Gravlax: Get a portion (about 1 lb.) of really fresh quality salmon from your fish monger and place it in a shallow pan. Cover it on both sides with a mixture of 3 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon pepper, 4 tablespoons fresh minced dill, and 2 tablespoons Aquavit. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and weigh the salmon down with a heavy can. Leave in the fridge for 3-4 days, turning the salmon over once per day. When its done, rinse under cold water, slice thinly, and serve with sour cream, dark bread, and fresh dill.

Open-Faced Smörgås: You can layer all manner of things on this classic Scandinavian sandwich. Use a hearty, darker bread as your base layer. Start with a horseradish cream (grated horseradish mixed with sour cream) and layer with sliced cucumbers, gravlax or smoked salmon, caviar, hard boiled eggs, shrimp, herring (if you’re brave), get creative!


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