Winter here in Stockholm long outstayed its welcome this year. Until about a week or two ago, we were regularly getting flurries, and even full days of snow, and choosing what to dress the children in for a day at nursery (Swedish nurseries tend to spend a lot of time outdoors, whatever the weather) has felt like an impossible task most days. So, the fact we were able to eat dinner in the garden yesterday evening has put a considerable spring (no pun intended, but enjoy it if you wish) in my step. It feels as though we’ve turned a corner, and I’m thrilled about it.
What with the turn in the weather, I wanted to cook something light and spring-ish. I tend to spend a lot of time clicking around on trusted food blogs and websites (my two favourites at the moment are probably Felicity Cloake’s ‘Perfect’ regular feature in the Guardian and the New York Times food section) for inspiration, and flicking through recipe books (yes, I am exactly that kind of nerd) and yesterday, purely by chance, I managed to hit on the same recipe in two: Nigel Slater’s Salmon and Dill Cakes which rears its head both on the Guardian website, and in his book, The Kitchen Diaries*, a collection so perfectly, simply and ingeniously conceived, I think every household should have a copy. This seemed like a sign, not to mention the perfect outdoor dinner, and so I was decided.
You will need:
- 400g Salmon
- An Egg White
- A Small Bunch of Dill
- Plain Flour – 1tbsp
- Grainy Mustard – 1tsp
- The Juice of Half a Lemon
…and for a sauce:
- Finely Shredded Fresh Dill Fronds – 1tbsp (ish)
- A Heaped Teaspoon of Grainy Mustard
- A Couple of Big Dollops of Thick Yoghurt (not low-fat)
First, cut up the salmon, extremely finely, as you would for a tartare. Add it to a mixing bowl, followed by the egg white, dill, flour, mustard and lemon juice, and plenty of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix it all thoroughly.
Heat some oil over a medium heat (enough to cover the base of the pan). Form the salmon into 10-12 small patties (I did this using a tablespoon, for consistency), and leave to one side til your oil is hot. Fry them in two batches, transferring them carefully to the pan one by one; the mixture is quite loose, so it’s almost more like the process of putting drop-scones in a pan, as opposed to, say, burgers. Fry for two or three minutes on one side then carefully flip each one, give them a little press with a spatula, and leave for two to three minutes on the other side, until cooked. Remove to a warm plate and repeat with the remaining fishcakes.
Whilst they’re cooking, mix together the ingredients for your sauce, seasoning to taste.
Unlike potato-based fish cakes, these are very light, and so need something to go with them. We had them with some buttered potatoes scattered with dill, corn cobs, and a green salad. The act of eating outside for the first time this year made me inordinately happy; the Swedish winter is long, and dark, and the fact it had encroached on the spring, with snowstorms and cold, felt very unfair, somehow. All that was forgotten in the twinkling of an eye though. Spring is finally here.
* My general policy for this blog is that the recipes must either be original, be found online, published by or with the permission of their author, or be reproduced here with the permission of their author. I will be recommending books though. Lots of them.