Recipe: Lobster soup with toast

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For New Year’s Eve my assignment was to make a lobster soup with sherry, so that’s what I set out to do. But as I needed lobster shell for the stock I thought it best to incorporate the lobster meat as well and did so by serving a delicious lobster toast (on butter-fried bread!) along side it. So yummy!

Obviously one can make the soup sans toast the day after a lobster feast or freeze the shells and use them another day. Same goes for prawn shells; you find a great recipe for prawn soup here.

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Lobster soup, serves 8

4 cooked lobsters

2 carrots

1 onion with skin on 

1 fennel or celery 

a bunch dill stalks

1 tsp fennel seeds

300 ml double cream 

50 ml dry sherry

approx 2 tbsp maizena or corn starch to thicken the soup

concentrated lobster stock (to taste)

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1 tbsp butter

a splash of sherry

2 shallots, finely chopped 

1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped 

Remove the lobster meat from the shells and set aside. Chop the shells very coarsley (it’s only so they fit better in the pan later). Place the shell in a large cooking tray with a little oil. Also add large pieces of carrot, onion and celery/fennel. Roast for approx 20 minutes on 180/200C. Transfer the shells and vegetables to a large saucepan with a lid. Add plenty of water (3 litres) and bring to the boil. Add dill stalks and fennel seeds. Place the lid askew and cook for 30-45 minutes.

Sieve the stock and reduce (high heat, no lid) until approx 1 litre remains. Add salt and pepper and taste. Add some concentrated lobster stock if needed. Add the sherry to a clean non-stick pan and let it bubble for a minute. Add the stock and cream and let it thicken. Add the maizena/corn starch to thicken the soup further. Sieve if you see any lumps. Season to taste with concentrate, salt, pepper and sherry. 

From the lobster meat I used approx 1/4 of the meat, the smallest pieces, to place in the soup bowls. Melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped shallots. After a minute add the lobster meat and add the sherry. Add salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dill. Divide between the bowls and pour in the soup. 

Lobster toast, serves 8

6 slices white bread

2 tbsp butter

remaining lobster meat from the 4 lobsters

1 batch homemade mayonnaise

1 tsp dijon

1 bunch, finely chopped

1 pinch cayenne pepper

salt, pepper

Chop the lobster meat (not too finely). Add 4 tbsp mayonnaise to a bowl and mix in the meat. Add more mayo if needed. Add mustard, dill and cayenne after taste. Season. Place cold until serving. 

Remove the crusts on the bread and cut into two diagonally. Fry the slices golden brown on both sides in butter on medium-low heat. Divide the lobster mayonnaise between the toasts and serve with the soup. 

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Recipe: Toast Lingstrom

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You’re probably familiar with Toast Skagen; the iconic Scandinavian starter consisting of butter-fried bread (oh yeah!) topped with a mixture of prawns and dill in mayonnaise?! It’s a true classic that will never go out of style. And so very delicious. My mother serves it at dinner parties and so do I, and sometimes I make one for myself just because I feel like it.

But this thing of placing things on top of butter-fried bread is bigger than just this one dish. It’s a whole food category. And I’m pleased to say I have discovered yet another recipe to add to my repertoire; this wonderful Toast Lingström with ham, named after its inventor, chef Christer Lingström.

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The combination of smoked (or cooked) ham, creamy mayonnaise and a little tartness from the creme fraiche really works with the heat from the horseradish. It’s such a great little starter. Or nibble, in which case the recipe below is enough for 8 nibbles. Just cut the bread slices in half.

Toast Lingström, serves 4

Adapted from Christer Lingström’s recipe.

150 g cooked or smoked ham

100 ml crème fraiche

50 ml mayonnaise

2 tbsp finely chopped chives

1 tbsp grated horseradish 

salt and pepper

4 slices white tin loaf

3 tbsp butter

Slice or dice the ham and mix with creme fraiche, mayo, chives and horseradish. Season to taste. Cut the crusts off the bread slices and fry in butter until golden. Drain the excess fat on kitchen towel. Divide the mixture between the four bread slices, garnish with some more chopped chives, if you like, and serve.  

Sashimi plate

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This lovely sashimi plate with fresh vegetables, crispy onions and hot wasabi mayo is a great way to start the weekend. Just add bubbly.

Sashimi plate, per portion

2 shallots, sliced 

oil for frying

1/2 avocado, sliced

10 cm cucumber, sliced and cut into sticks

a handful lambs lettuce

mayonnaise

wasabi powder

50 g super fresh salmon

50 g super fresh tuna

chopped coriander

2 lime wedges

Kikkoman soy

Heat up 2 cm neutral oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until golden. Drain on kitchen towel. Mix mayo with wasabi powder to your taste. Slice the fish and start plating everything. Scatter with coriander and serve with lime wedges and Japanese soy sauce. 

Roasted Jerusalem artichokes with browned butter mayo

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Jerusalem artichokes. Once they were just a humble root vegetable used for peasant food and then suddenly it’s a gourmet vegetable.

Fine with me; I really like the earthy sweet taste. And if you have a plot of land to grow your own, it’s, according to my mother, the easiest vegetable to grow as it spreads like weed.

I usually use them for soup as I never get tired of the comforting flavour it has, but sometimes I roast them in the oven. Last time I made sort of a sharing dish with browned butter mayonnaise and grated comté. It’s very simple to make (apart form the mayo) and feels luxurious despite the simple ingredients.

Just a note about the mayonnaise: it’s just as easy to make as regular mayonnaise but make sure the butter has cooled down before incorporating into the mayo. And please make it just before serving as mine split after a while in room temperature. It’s not a huge problem though, as you don’t really want to leave any of it – it’s that good!

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Roasted Jerusalem artichokes with browned butter mayonnaise, serves 2 (starter size portions)

200 g small Jerusalem artichokes, washed 

oil for roasting

salt and pepper

grated comté

2 lemon wedges (optional)

Cut the artichokes in half lengthways. Place in a roasting tin and drizzle with some oil. Add salt and pepper and stir around so all pieces are coated with oil and seasoning. Roast in 225C until soft but with crunchy exterior, approx 20 minutes. 

Serve with the mayo below and grated comté. And maybe some lemon juice. 

Browned butter mayonnaise

100 g butter

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp white wine vinegar

approx 3 tbsp neutral oil

1/2 lemon

salt, white pepper

Brown the butter and let cool until room temperature. Whisk egg yolk, mustard and vinegar in a bowl. Add the oil drop by drop while whisking. Once you have the start of a mayonnaise, add the butter little by little while whisking and letting the mixture thicken. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve immediately. 

Dill mayonnaise

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Crayfish season is typically in August and it’s fine to stretch it to September too, but the end of October is a completely different season, which is why I decided to serve my crayfish as a starter instead of the full spread with Västerbotten cheese quiche, caraway cheese, snaps etc, the other day.

As dill is traditionally used in the brine for the crayfish I chose to enhanced that element further by serving a dill mayonnaise together with the crayfish (still to peel at the table) as well as a nice crusty bread and butter. Simple yet lovely.

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Dill mayonnaise, serves 2-4

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

150-200 ml dill oil (I used a Swedish one from Gunnarshögs gård, pictured)

1/2 lemon, the juice

salt, white pepper

1-2 tbsp chopped dill

Place the egg yolk in a mixing bowl and start whisking while adding the oil drop by drop at first and then in a thin stream while whisking continuously until you have a thick mayonnaise. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the chopped dill. 

Black salsify and feta fritters with wild garlic mayo

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While preparing my supper quite late last night my flatmate asked me what I was making. He looked puzzled when I said I was cooking with salsify and showed him the long dark sticks. He still didn’t know what it was, and I realised then that it is a rather unusual vegetable.

But it shouldn’t be. It grows in Britain and similar climates (like Sweden and Southern Europe), it is nutrious and as it is a root vegetable it makes this time of year a whole lot more interesting (as it is mainly root vegetables and cabbage that grows locally in winter).

In Sweden it is knows as poor man’s asparagus as it is similar in taste, and I read that it is also said to taste similar to oysters.

In this recipe I paired it with feta and lemon juice and added the subtle garlic flavour of the wild garlic in the mayonnaise. The whole dish feels like a promise of spring. Utterly delicious! I had it as a light supper but it also works as a lunch, brunch or even breakfast.

PS. If you haven’t got flavoured oil at hand, you can make the mayonnaise from fresh wild garlic instead.

Black salsify and feta fritters with wild garlic mayo, serves 1

3 black salsify, peeled and coarsely grated 

3 tbsp feta

1 egg white

4-5 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp lemon juice

salt, black pepper

butter and oil for frying

Fry the grated salsify in butter for a few minutes to soften. Then transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the crumbled feta, egg white (save the yolk for the mayo), flour, lemon juice and seasoning. Mix well. Heat up butter and oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Spoon the mixture into the pan shaping four fritters. Fry until golden brown on both sides.  

Wild garlic mayonnaise, serves 1

1 egg yolk, at room temperature 

ca 100 ml wild garlic flavoured oil

1 lemon wedge, the juice

salt, white pepper

Beat the egg yolk and add the oil drop by drop while whisking until you have a thick mayonnaise. Add lemon juice and seasoning. 

Once again: asparagus with wild garlic mayo and parmesan shavings

On Friday when Daniel and Maria arrived from the airport I had prepared a three course dinner, starting with this spring time favourite from last year; asparagus with wild garlic mayo and parmesan shavings.

I bought some lovely British asparagus from the supermarket and used some of my hidden freezer treasure of wild garlic for the modified mayonnaise recipe.

Wild garlic mayo 2.0

15 wild garlic leaves, steamed and drained

200 ml sunflower oil

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

lemon juice

salt

white pepper

Blend the oil with the wild garlic to a smooth oil. Place the egg yolk in a beaker and add the green oil drop by drop, later a little by little, while beating with an electric whisk. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Leave for 30 minutes to deepen its flavour.

Asparagus with wild garlic mayonnaise and parmesan shavings, serves 2

8 asparagus stems

wild garlic mayonnaise

parmigiano reggiano or other matured parmesan

extra virgin olive oil

Maldon sea salt

Break the ends off the asparagus, where it breaks naturally. Steam in salted water for 1-2 minutes. Drain. Place a large dollop of mayonnaise on each plate. Place the asparagus next to it, add shavings of parmesan, drizzle some olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt. Serve with crusty bread or as it is.