Too hot to cook
A simple Norwegian-inspired summer meal with minimal prep and maximum enjoyment
CHRISTY OLSEN FIELD
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American
Entertaining is on my mind these days. It’s a joy to invite friends and loved ones after all these months of social distancing to share a meal at our home.
As much as I love an ambitious cooking challenge, I also like to be with my guests and not standing at the stove, especially during the hot summer months. So an easy, almost no-cook meal that I like to serve is what I call a platter meal: an assortment of a few thinly sliced meats, cheeses, sliced vegetables and fruit, with good bread or crackers. It takes just a bit of prep work, but it’s a total crowd pleaser with minimal time at the stove.
I had a lot of fun researching Norwegian koldtbord ideas for a summer meal to round out my platter meal repertoire.
Spekemat is a fixture on the koldtbord: thinly sliced meat that is salted, sometimes smoked, and cured. Fenelår (salted, dried leg of lamb) and spekeskinke (cured and smoked ham) are typical spekemat in Norway. But unless you have a Scandinavian deli close by, it can be a challenge to source traditional Norwegian spekemat. I find that prosciutto, jamón, salami, or other deli meats at a deli counter work just as well.
Røkelaks (smoked salmon) is also a common item for the koldtbord. It is cured salmon that is hot-smoked or cold-smoked for different textures.
Eggerøre (scrambled eggs) is a typisk norsk food for the koldtbord. This was a new one to me, but it’s kind of brilliant and definitely satisfying. For luscious scrambled eggs, I add a bit of water and cook them low and slow on the stove.
Prefer a vegetarian option? I reached out to Sunny Gandara, New York-based vegan chef and author of the Arctic Grub blog, for some plant-based menu items for the koldtbord. With her approachable recipes for vegan-izing traditional Norwegian dishes, Sunny is one of my favorite Norwegian food voices.
She shared some recipes for open-faced sandwiches (another brilliant idea for the koldtbord! You can find the article here: arcticgrub.com/scandinavian-open-face-sandwiches) and also shared her recipe for smoked “salmon” made from carrots.
You can keep your koldtbord menu simple, and but I like to round it out a bit with sliced vegetables or fruits: cucumbers, carrots, melon, and stone fruits are my favorites. Serve your koldtbord spread with Norwegian flatbread, crackers, or thin slices of good bread for a Norwegian-inspired summer supper!
What are your favorite summery Norwegian dishes? I’d love to hear from you! Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Koldtbord: Spekemat med eggerøre
Cured meats with scrambled eggs
Adapted from Mat Prat
Serves 4 people as a light meal
8 oz. smoked meats, such as prosciutto or jamon, or smoked salmon
1 tbsp. butter
4 tbsps. water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. chives or flat-leaf parsley, chopped
To serve: Norwegian flatbread, crackers, or thinly sliced bread and sour cream
Here’s how you make it:
1. Melt butter in a small skillet over low heat.
2. Whisk together the eggs, water, and a good pinch of salt in a small bowl, and pour the mixture into a skillet.
3. Stir gently with a rubber spatula as it thickens into custardy curds.
4. Season with freshly ground pepper and sprinkle with chives or flat-leaf parsley.
5. Meanwhile, lay out the sliced meats or fish on the serving platter. Add the scrambled eggs and serve.
6. Serve with Norwegian flatbread and sour cream.
7. To round out the meal, add sliced vegetables, melon, or stone fruits.
Vegan Smoked “Salmon” (Røkelaks)
By Sunny Gandara of Arctic Grub (www.arcticgrub.com)
Reprinted with permission
4 large carrots
Sea salt, for coating
2 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsps. rice vinegar
2 tbsps. caper brine
2 tbsps. tamari or soy sauce
½ tsp. smoked paprika
Big squeeze fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Here’s how you make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 475°F and line a medium baking dish with parchment paper.
2. Coat the bottom with about a ¼-inch layer of salt, then place the whole carrots in the dish and sprinkle with a good amount of salt. Don’t worry, you won’t be eating all this salt in the final result.
3. Roast the carrots until easily pierced with a fork, but not mushy. The timing will depend on the size and freshness of your carrots. Check them, starting around 40 minutes—my very large carrots took 60 to 90 minutes. This step can be done in advance.
4. Make the marinade: In a shallow dish or small bowl, combine the olive oil, rice vinegar, caper brine, tamari or soy sauce, paprika, lemon juice, and several grinds of freshly ground black pepper.
5. Remove the carrots from the oven and let cool.
6. Use your hands to rub off any excess salt. Use a knife to slice a thin strip off one side of the salty skin, and then use a peeler to peel the carrot into ribbons. If your peeler snagged on the soft carrot, that’s ok, just slice pieces as thinly as you can with a sharp knife. Place the strips in the marinade and toss to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
7. Serve with bagels, cream cheese, cucumber slices, capers, chives, and/or dill.
8. If you have extra carrots, cover and refrigerate them in the marinade for up to 4 days.
This article originally appeared in the July 9, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.