Simple fresh ingredients provide a tasty winter dish.
LAPLAND has always been a world of its own, a fascinating place for Finns and foreigners alike because of the endless infinity that seems to spread out in front of one’s eyes, its magic calmness, and those heavenly colours that adorn land and sky. This closeness to nature is also reflected in the culinary world as well: Lappish products are highly-appreciated, very versatile, and considered of especially high-quality and nutritional value. The food eaten there consists of a palette of interesting and delicious flavours, such as reindeer, berries, wild mushrooms and a wide variety of fish species, for which Lapland’s crystal clean waters are the perfect environment for them to thrive. One of those is salmon, which when caught fresh it is the ideal ingredient for a genuine Lappish specialty, the very tasty salmon soup (lohikeitto in Finnish).
Recipe for salmon soup (for four portions)
– 6dl fish stock (e.g. Knorr’s stock cubes)
1. Prepare the fish stock from the stock cubes according to the instructions on the package.
2. Melt the butter in a pot, and while stirring, add the flour and fish stock. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the skin from the salmon fillets and cut them into around 2cm cubes. Add them to the mixture. Stir carefully in order for the salmon cubes to remain intact.
4. After five minutes add the milk and double cream.
5. Season with dill to taste. Serve with a garnish of fresh chives.
This traditional dish simply represents Lappish food at its best, as it is prepared in homes across the region. Perhaps the secret of its excellent taste is the fact that the first step in its making is the preparation of fish stock, made of the leftover trimmings of a freshly-filleted salmon (e.g. the head, larger bones and fins). Afterwards, all the ingredients are added to the stock and left to simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes. Its creamy consistency is further enhanced by the full, salty taste of salmon pieces and the fresh dill used as seasoning. Ideal as a starter to a hearty meal, it is equally suitable as a snack or a light dinner. Prepared with care, it consists of an unforgettable culinary experience, not only due to its delicious taste, but also because of the warm, welcoming atmosphere created by the Lappish people.
A trip to Lapland is really worthwhile if only just for tasting this sublime delicacy. If, however, you would like to bring Lapland to your home instead, here is the recipe for salmon soup á la Tornionlaakso, an area just southwest of Rovaniemi. Just replace fresh fish stock with a readymade one and enjoy a dish so simple, yet so delicious!
ANNA MARIA ALEXANDROU
PHOTO: TUI JASAL