Five years ago, we traveled to Scandinavia on a family cruise. Strolling in the Swedish town of Visby on a sunny June day, we discovered the entire population in the town park, picnicking, singing, and performing folk dances. We were introduced to Midsommer--one of the most important festival days in Scandinavian culture. It made such an impression on my family, that we've celebrated Midsommer since then, with a traditional Swedish picnic meal. New potatoes, scrubbed and sauteed in a pan, seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh dill or parsley. Cucumbers--English seedless are best--thinly sliced and prepared with a simple dressing. Sometimes I make a quick brine with water, sugar, salt, and vinegar, accented with dill; other times, I toss the cukes with a spoonful of olive oil, white vinegar, salt and pepper, and chopped dill. And then there's the salmon. So simple. On a hot day, this prep doesn't overheat the kitchen, and the poaching helps the fish stay moist. What better way to celebrate summer?
This recipe was inspired by the Swedish tourism website , www.sweden.se
1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Salmon fillet, wild caught preferred
Each Peppercorns and juniper berries
Whole allspice or cloves
Medium carrot and stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
In a sauté pan, combine the water, vinegar, salt, spices, and herbs to make a brine. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Gently slide the salmon, skin side up, into the hot brine and immediately turn the heat down as low as possible. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Carefully turn the fish over and peel off the skin. Turn off the heat. Test the fish for doneness; it should test at least 125f. If it is not cooked through, cover and let the fish continue to sit in the hot brine (off the heat) for another 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the salmon from the hot brine with a slotted spatula and place on a serving platter. Garnish with fresh dill and serve with Swedish-style sweet and sour mustard, tartar sauce, or honey mustard (equal parts honey and Dijon mustard blended). Serve the fish immediately or chill and serve cold, with new potatoes or potato salad, and cucumbers in vinaigrette. Maypole optional.