Koselig cauliflower and shrimp

Almost as easy as ordering pizza, this Nordic combination makes a satisfying meal

cauliflower and shrimp

Photo: Daytona Strong
A simple creamy shrimp sauce brings body to the healthy base of steamed cauliflower.

Daytona Strong
Taste of Norway Editor

I made the most koselig meal recently.

Americans have been fascinated in recent years with hygge—the word that describes the coziness and wellbeing in the Scandinavian lifestyle—but they don’t seem to have caught on to the Norwegian version, kos or koselig.

As someone who loves being at home but is also quite social, to me koselig means long mornings spent making art with my children, evenings reading a good book, hosting dinners for friends, and giving myself permission to keep things simple.

That’s where this Norwegian recipe comes in. I first encountered cauliflower with shrimp sauce in Authentic Norwegian Cooking by Astrid Karlsen Scott. It wasn’t one of the dishes I grew up with, but the flavors intrigued me. After researching ways to prepare it, I set out to create my own version, one that would come together quickly and easily.

A typical dinner at my home involves the standard components: protein, vegetables, and a grain or starch for those who eat it. A meal like this takes time and collaboration; the kids set the table while my husband and I cook. On this particular night, however, my husband was away and I had spent the day recipe testing. Simplicity was in order.

After the cauliflower steamed—a process that requires little effort from the cook—I made a quick creamy sauce and stirred in the shrimp to heat through. That was it.

I’ve seen different ways to make this dish. I chose to steam the cauliflower with white wine to infuse it with a special touch. Then incorporate the cooking liquid into the sauce, making it extra flavorful. Serve with the remaining wine, well chilled, if you wish.

I could have ordered pizza and avoided a couple of dirty pans, but the slight effort was worth it for the experience of nourishment I still managed to provide my family. That, to me, feels like the essence of a koselig life.

Wine-Steamed Cauliflower with Creamy Shrimp Sauce

Originally published on my Scandinavian food blog, Outside Oslo (www.outside-oslo.com).

1 large cauliflower
2 cups water
½ cup dry white wine
2 tsps. salt
2 tbsps. butter
3 tbsps. flour
3⁄4 cup whole milk
1 lb. small shrimp, cooked & peeled
chopped curly-leaf parsley, for garnish

Trim the leaves and stem from the cauliflower and cut it into large florets.

In a large pot, bring water, wine, and salt to a low boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the cauliflower. Cover and steam until the cauliflower is tender but still firm, about 20 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish using a slotted spoon; cover to keep warm. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid and add to the milk.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until it absorbs all the butter. Gradually whisk in the milk and cooking liquid, letting the sauce thicken slightly with each addition before adding more. Continue to whisk constantly until it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. Stir in the shrimp and allow it to heat through.

Pour the shrimp sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Serves 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 November 2, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Daytona Strong

Daytona Strong was formerly the editor of the Taste of Norway for The Norwegian American. 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/DaytonaStrongAuthor), Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).