Somewhere I've read recently that Scandinavian food is trendy these days. I must have missed that. Of the Scandinavian countries, I've only been to Denmark and can't say that whatever we ate was memorable, so it's a bit hard to imagine trendiness here.
For tonight's dinner, I planned three dishes from the Time-Life Scandinavian Cooking recipe book, but ended up making only two of them. For the main there was a Danish dish, Sautéed Flounder with Shrimp (p19). I made it with plaice since that was available at the shop today, but it seems this is the traditional fish for the dish. The dish is simply breaded fillets, topped with little shrimp, sautéed. The fillets were breaded by dipping in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs (I used panko), which is the way this should be done. It's a shame I didn't figure out that all three steps are necessary for proper breading until fairly recently. I've lately read the reasons why all the steps are necessary, but can't find the link back. It's something like the flour helping the egg to stick, and the egg helping the crumbs, whatever they are, to stick. Only with all three do you have a chance of getting a nice coating that will stay on whatever it is that you're trying to bread. In this case, the breaded fillets are topped with some some little shrimp that have been sautéed in more butter. This should all be topped with yet more butter, browned a bit, but I skipped that.
One side was going to be another Danish dish, Caramelized Potatoes (p49). I was curious about what caramelized potatoes would taste like. In the end I didn't have the time or oomph to get these made. I just took my boiled new potatoes and tossed them with butter and parsley and called them done.
The other side was a Finnish dish, Fresh Mushroom Salad (p13). In the hardback book, Brown mentioned that mushroom dishes are usually made with wild mushrooms. I bought shiitakes, since those were the most interesting mushrooms at the store today. The pleurotes/oesterzwammen/oyster mushroom looked pretty crummy, and I wanted something "wilder" than regular cultivated mushrooms. The mushrooms are sliced, then briefly boiled in water and lemon juice. (The recipe asks for a half pound of sliced mushrooms to be boiled in a 1-quart saucepan. This seems a bit improbable since they made much more than four cups of slices.) Naturally, I used a bigger pot. After just a few minutes the mushrooms and drained and patted dry. Then they're tossed with a dressing of heavy cream, grated onion, a pinch of sugar, salt, and white pepper, and served on a bed of lettuce (fresh from the garden).
The fish was pretty good, but nothing particularly special. The shroom salad was quite good, and might be something I'll make again. It would be nice with a selection of salads or a salad side as I served it this evening.