Dish it up
Beatrice Ojakangas’ The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever is back in print in 2022
CHRISTY OLSEN FIELD
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American
A good cook once said that a casserole is a blend of inspiration and what’s on hand. Add to that a generous helping of know-how, and you’ve got The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever by Beatrice Ojakangas.
First published by Chronicle in 2008, it sold a stadium-sized 34,000 copies, but it was put out of print in 2013. As the Ojakangas book that people ask about the most, the University of Minnesota Press is happy to be bringing it back into print.
Beatrice Ojakangas is the author of 31 cookbooks, including the legendary The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, Scandinavian Cooking, and Scandinavian Feasts. She was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2005.
In these pages of The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever, you’ll find one-dish meals for every season and any occasion.
For breakfast, there are make-ahead strata and quiches or last-minute offerings like baked omelets and Eggs Florentine; for lunches and brunches, light fare, or full-on midday meals; and for dinner, a dizzying array of dishes, meaty or vegetarian, made with fresh ingredients or pantry staples—from Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing to Baked Spaghetti, Southwestern Beans, or Autumn Vegetable Stew.
Leave room for dessert, because the book includes sweet casseroles like Mocha Fudge Pudding and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. And for appetizers and snacks there are dips, spreads, and slathers; mini quiches and omelet squares; and mushrooms au gratin, curried, or stuffed. You’ll even find bread here in casserole form, from sweet Cinnamon Bubble Bread to savory Cornmeal Spoon Bread and tender Sally Lunn.
You will find some Nordic recipes too, including Swedish Lingonberry Pancake Casserole and Norwegian Lemon Custard, Finnish Cabbage Rolls (Kaalikääryleet), and Norwegian Baked Cheese Omelet.
With an ever-reliable and inspired sense of how to create a delicious meal, Ojakangas has advice for both expert and novice cooks about ingredients, equipment, and meals. With over 500 recipes covering every conceivable kind of meal, as well as a helpful introduction and section on casserole basics, this is the only casserole book you’d ever need — I mean, as the title says, it’s the best ever.
I asked the University of Minnesota Press if we could share a recipe from the cookbook with the readers of The Norwegian American. I chose Norwegian Fish Pudding, which is the kind of one-dish meal to tuck into this winter. God appetit!
The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever by Beatrice Ojakangas will be available March 15, 2022, wherever books are sold.
Do you have a favorite casserole, or one-pot Norwegian meal? I’d love to hear from you! Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fiskepudding med dillsaus
Norwegian Fish Pudding
From Beatrice Ojakangas’ The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever
“In Norway, a cook’s reputation is determined by the smoothness of the fish pudding she or he prepares. This makes a tasty luncheon or supper dish, especially when served with a cucumber salad. If you prefer, serve this with hollandaise sauce (see page 121) or melted butter rather than the dill sauce.”
– Beatrice Ojakangas
6 tbsps. butter, plus extra for the dish
6 tbsps. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, heated
2 tsps. salt
1 ½ lbs. boneless fish, such as halibut, snapper, or flounder, cut into 2-inch cubes
6 large eggs, separated
For the dill sauce (optional):
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. fresh dill, or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Here’s how you make it:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 1½-quart casserole or soufflé dish. Have at hand a larger pan in which the dish can be set. Heat a few cups of water to boiling.
In a medium saucepan, melt the 6 tbsps. butter over medium heat and add the flour; stir until blended, and gradually whisk in the milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, until thickened. Add the salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
Put half of the sauce and the fish into a food processor with the steel blade in place and process until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining sauce from the saucepan.
Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until thick and add to the fish mixture. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff and fold into the fish mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a prepared casserole. Set into the larger pan and add 1 inch of boiling water. Bake for 1 hour, or until set and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, make the dill sauce if desired. Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl!
Serve the casserole with dill sauce or hollandaise sauce or melted butter.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 7, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.