Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Best International Recipe: Central Europe and Scandinavia

I'm back from New York, and ready to start working through The Best International Recipe. As I mentioned earlier, my plan is to cook a meal from each geographic chapter, and then loop back around to try out runner-up recipes.

I'm feeling ambivalent about what I cooked for dinner last night. I'm not sure if my problem with dinner was the actual taste of the food, or if external factors dampened my enthusiasm for it. A) Congestion settled in my ears and lungs, so I'm cranky and tired, B) The recipe didn't quite work flawlessly, and C) My stupid salmon had a million bones in it, which made it super annoying to eat.

The main dinner component was Cold Poached Salmon with Dill-Sour Cream Sauce (pg 127). I don't like cold fish, so I served this hot. This recipe is easy, but it didn't work out right. You're supposed to simmer a broth of water, wine, lemon, onion, carrot, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns for about a half hour, to make it flavorful. Then you add the salmon so that all the pieces are submerged. I couldn't even submerge ONE salmon fillet in this amount of liquid, and it would have been a disaster if I were attempting to cook the six fillets the recipe calls for. I don't think it's even that so much liquid evaporated. It wasn't enough to begin with. If I weren't sick, and my brain was working properly, I would have just added more water. Instead, I flipped the salmon over halfway through, then tried to do the same with Matt's piece, but by the time I was done with his, the liquid had boiled away and both pieces of fish were still raw in the middle. I put them in the oven for a few minutes, and they turned out fine, but it was still really irritating.
I wasn't so sure about the sour cream (I used yogurt) and dill sauce before I started, because I'm used to light lemon, garlic, and wine sauces on my fish. I never ate sour cream on salmon before. It actually worked together nicely. I approve. Now, if only the damn bones had been removed from the fish, I may have enjoyed eating this. GRRRR.

Conclusion: Liked it. It won't be replacing my normal salmon preparation, but it's nice for a change now and then.

As a side, I made German Potato Salad (pg 118). Hard to say what I think of this. It was delicious right after it was made, while it was hot. The bacon was crisp, the onions had caramelized in the bacon fat, and there was a balanced back-note of vinegar and mustard. I stood at the pot, eating it compulsively. I made it late in the afternoon and let it sit at room temperature until dinner, to try and save some time later. It was gross at room temperature, though Matt still loved it because it had bacon in it. In fairness, the instructions DO say to serve this warm. I barely touched what was on my plate. After two hours, the potatoes had absorbed all of the dressing. It was dry and tasted more mustardy than it did when it was fresh. Yick.
Conclusion: I'll give this a "Liked it," because it was really good right off the stove, which is when they tell you to serve it. I very much disliked this after two hours, though.


  1. Welcome back! Sorry these weren't stronger contenders for you!

  2. Boo to the bones! At least the yummy sour cream sauce was a plus :)

  3. Hope you are feeling better!
    The two dishes look like they should complement each other though.