Visit Norway without leaving your own kitchen

Trying things out, tapas-style

Kristi Bissell
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

In recent travels to Scandinavia, both Editor-in-Chief Lori Ann Reinhall and Food Editor Kristi Bissell enjoyed fabulous meals that revolved around a series of small plates.

Inspired by the Spanish concept of tapas, these dishes are modest in size (think an appetizer portion) and are intended to give those enjoying the meal the opportunity to share and sample a variety of tastes throughout the meal rather than having to commit to a single entree.

Since this is the travel issue, we thought it would be fun to present you with four easy and delicious small-plate recipes inspired by Norwegian ingredients.

Even if your plans don’t involve a trip to Oslo this year, these tasty dishes will transport you there in spirit. We invite you to chill a good bottle of aquavit, get into the kitchen with a few good friends, and take a “trip” to Norway.  No passport required!

About tapas: The word tapas is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover,” a cognate of the English word top. According to famous cookbook The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, the original tapas were thin slices of bread or meat that sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. With time, the tapas became just as important as the sherry.

All photos by Kristi Bissell


SALMON SALAD with Parsley and Capers

Serves 4-6

2 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing on salmon

2 tbsps. red wine vinegar

½ small red onion, thinly sliced crosswise

3 tbsps. capers, drained and rinsed

½ cup Italian parsley leaves (stems removed)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 6-ounce salmon filets (skin on is fine)

1. Combine olive oil, vinegar, red onion, capers, parsley, and
¼ tsp. coarse salt in a serving bowl. Set aside.

2. Rub the salmon with a bit of olive oil and season with salt
and pepper. Bake in a 450° oven until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

3. While it is still warm, flake the salmon into bite-size pieces (leaving skin behind on the baking sheet) and add it to the serving bowl. Stir to combine.

4. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.


TENDERLOIN FILET with Parsnip Puree & Browned Butter

Serves 4

2 8-ounce beef tenderloin filets

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tbsps. unsalted butter

1 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds

1 cup whole milk

Chopped fresh thyme for serving

1. Place the parsnips, milk, and ¾ tsp. salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and reduce the heat to low. Cook until parsnips are tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

2.  Season tenderloins with salt and pepper and sear in a small hot skillet until medium rare. Cover with foil and set aside to rest.

3.  Add the butter to the empty skillet.  Cook over low heat, swirling constantly, until browned and toasty. Pour into a clean bowl and set aside.

4.  Transfer the parsnips and cooking liquid to a food processor.  Add half of the browned butter. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5.  Serve the puree topped with a few slices of the tenderloin, a drizzle of the browned butter and a sprinkle of fresh thyme.



Makes about 40 small appetizers

For the Potato Bites:

8-10 small yellow waxy potatoes

1 8-ounce jar pickled herring, drained

Danish Remoulade, recipe follows

Fresh dill for garnish

For the Danish Remoulade:

½ cup prepared mayonnaise

2 tbsps. skyr or greek yogurt

1 heaping tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. capers, coarsely chopped

2 tbsps. dill pickles, finely chopped

1 tbsp. finely chopped shallot

2 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley

¾ tsp. curry powder

1.  Place potatoes in cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not falling apart. Smaller potatoes will cook more quickly than larger potatoes. Check doneness by piercing a potato or two with the tip of a sharp knife. It should slide in and out easily without much resistance. Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water. Set aside to cool. Potatoes can be prepared up to two days in advance. Store in the refrigerator.

2.  Make the Danish Remoulade: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3.  Assemble the bites: Cut each potato into ¼-inch slices, discarding the ends. Place a dollop of Danish Remoulade on top of the potato, followed by a small piece of herring and a dill sprig.  Serve. (Can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Chill until ready to serve.)


GINGER SNAPS with Blue Cheese and Fig Jam

Purchased or homemade ginger snap cookies

Blue cheese

Fig jam or preserves

Chopped fresh thyme

Top each gingersnap with a thin wedge of blue cheese, a dollop of fig jam, and sprinkle of fresh thyme. Serve.


This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog,