Summer’s bounty wrapped in a book

Brontë Aurell’s ScandiKitchen Summer celebrates the freshness of the season

Daytona Strong
Taste of Norway Editor

Summertime might just be the most delicious season. From the sun-kissed berries that usher it in to the rainbow of fruits and vegetables that parade through these months, the food is as beautiful as it is tasty. And Brontë Aurell has captured the essence of the season in her latest book, ScandiKitchen Summer: Simply delicious food for lighter, warmer days (Ryland Peters & Small, March 2018).

Running London’s ScandiKitchen, Aurell knows how to present Scandinavian food to the world. She’s released a number of cookbooks in the past couple of years, including The Scandi Kitchen: Simple, delicious dishes for any occasion and ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge—Comforting cakes and bakes from Scandinavia with love (see our coverage of those books at www.norwegianamerican.com/food/a-fresh-savory-nordic-spring and www.norwegianamerican.com/featured/nordic-cookbooks-entice-and-inspire). They’re all filled with recipes ranging from traditional to modern, and they all invite readers into the kitchen to cook with their expert touch and gorgeous accompanying photography.

Some of the highlights of ScandiKitchen Summer are the vanilla syrup-laced cinnamon bun French toast to serve with fresh berries; hot-smoked trout open sandwiches with dill and apple; a lightened-up version of the traditional pickled beetroot salad; and a variation of Kvaefjordkake (also known as World’s Best Cake) which consists of layers of sponge cake, meringue, a rhubarb and strawberry compote, and pastry cream.

As Aurell writes in the introduction, Scandinavia is full of contrasts throughout the year, from the cold, dark winter to the vibrant, sunny summer. Her latest book celebrates the bounty of the summer in all its glory. If you enjoy this one, look out for her next book—ScandiKitchen Christmas: Recipes and traditions from Scandinavia comes out in October.

Crispbread pizza

Crispbread Pizza

A while ago, people in Sweden started making pizza out of crispbread. I always thought this was a wonderful idea. Pizza is amazing—no doubt about that—but we can’t really justify eating it all the time. So, trust the Swedes to make it all very lagom and balanced by using a super-healthy base so that it’s ready in five minutes! Leksands is my favorite brand of crispbread to use for this, because it is fairly thick and comes in big round slices, so it actually looks like pizza once it is cooked. However, you can use other brands and make smaller versions. I use both tomato purée and pesto as bases. Toppings will vary depending on your refrigerator’s mood that day—but really, as long as they’re gooey when melted and tasty, you’re good to go.

handful of fresh peas
5-6 asparagus spears
1 big round of crispbread
2 tbsps. green pesto, with a few drops of olive oil mixed in
ready-to-eat green tomatoes, sliced (if you can’t find them, red are fine)
bocconcini or mozzarella balls, to taste
1 good handful of grated cheese (I use a mixture of torn mozzarella and Cheddar)
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Blanch the peas and asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes and then plunge into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.

Place the crispbread on a large baking sheet and lightly spread the base with pesto. Add the tomato, asparagus, and peas and then the bocconcini or mozzarella, torn into small shreds if needed. Top with the grated cheese.

Season with salt and pepper and bake in the preheated oven for around 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Slice with a pizza cutter and serve immediately (it does not keep). If you want a meaty version, add some air-dried ham after cooking.

Makes 1 large crispbread pizza.

Black rice and salmon salad

Black Rice and Salmon Salad

Black rice lends itself well to being used cold in salads. It is known sometimes as “forbidden rice,” and sometimes as “black venus rice.” It has a hard husk and a great bite to it—and, of course, a wonderful dark color.

generous 1 cup uncooked black rice
1 cucumber
1 green apple
1 shallot, finely chopped
squeeze of lemon juice
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsps. freshly chopped parsley
1 tbsp. freshly chopped mint (optional)
5 ½ oz. hot-smoked salmon
dressing:
2 tbsps. white wine vinegar
4 tbsps. quality olive or rapeseed oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (plus extra as needed)
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the black rice a few times, then bring to a boil in a large pan of water. Cook until al dente following the packet instructions. (It can take about 30 minutes to cook, it takes a while, a bit like brown rice). Once cooked, rinse well to remove the excess color. Set aside for a moment and leave to cool.

Slice the cucumber lengthways, then scrape out the seeds and chop into ¼-inch pieces. Chop the apple into similarly sized small pieces. Add the cucumber, apple, and shallot to a serving bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice to keep the apple fresh. Add the cooked and cooled black rice, dill, parsley, and mint (if using). Flake in the salmon pieces and mix gently to combine everything together.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and season to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir. Adjust the seasoning once you have done this—it may need more lemon juice or even a squeeze of lime (this depends on the saltiness of the fish and the sweetness of the apple you have used).

Serves 4 individual portions or 6 to 7 as a side dish.

Rye and oat pancakes with greek yogurt

Swedish Plätt Pancakes

Plättar are little pancakes. In Sweden, these mini pancakes are eaten as a dessert, often with cold stirred lingonberries or lingonberry jam/jelly, but I think they make a brilliant brunch, too. Because they have no raising agent, they are flat like French crêpes, rather than fluffy like American-style pancakes. However, I like the addition of a glug of beer to the batter just before frying, as I find the carbonated liquid gives the pancakes a little lift. You can leave this out and replace with a little more milk or a dash of sparkling water instead, if you prefer. Some people fry their plättar in a special pan (like the one pictured) with large blini-sized shallow round indents of around 3 inches across. You can, of course, make them freestyle on a normal pan/skillet too, but they will not be as uniform. If you have metal cookie cutters, you could drop the batter inside these for a neater finish.

1 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of ground cardamom
1 tbsp. icing/confectioners’ sugar
pinch of salt
3 eggs
2 cups + 2 tbsps. whole milk
1 3⁄4 tbsps. butter, melted
3 ½ tbsps. beer (lager)
extra butter & olive oil, for frying
Cold Stirred Lingonberries (see recipe in book) or lingonberry jam/jelly, to serve (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour with the cardamom, icing/confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Whisk in the milk, bit by bit, stirring after each addition to avoid lumps. Whisk in the melted butter.

Leave the batter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Just before you want to fry your pancakes, add the beer. Give a brief stir but don’t over-mix.

Preheat the pan over a medium heat and add a little butter and oil. Drop in spoonfuls of the batter and fry briefly, turning once, until golden on both sides. Serve the pancakes hot, with a large helping of cold stirred lingonberries or lingonberry jam/jelly.

Serves 3 to 4.

Daytona Strong is The Norwegian American’s Taste of Norway Editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo), Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).

This article originally appeared in the July 13, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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