The sun is (finally!) beating down and my brain is non-functional thanks to a combination of heat, pre-vacation stress and hayfever. During these few (few!) days of summer the Swedish population goes into general amnesia, forgetting every dark, dreary November night. Paralysis from lack of light might be the only thing keeping us all from migrating south.
The result is that, come summer, we try to squeeze every drop of pleasure out of any and every luke-warm evening. Mosquitoes ain’t got nothing on our desire to sit outside, eat, drink and chat away the long, light summer nights. Food and wine become as natural a part of our socialization as it is year-round in France or Italy. The quick standard is a pre-marinated steak on the grill and some Bag-in-Box red. This gets boring quite quickly, for obvious reasons. If you require inspiration, one of Sweden’s leading wine writers, Håkan Larsson, has just come out with what proves to be an inspiring book of summer meals. In ”Sommarkväll” (suitably translated to Summer Night) he combines mouthwatering recipes inspired by his summers on the island of Fårö (the place where Ingmar Bergman lived), suggesting wine pairings and even music to suit the style. In a world flooded with cookbooks, this is one I will actually use this summer.
Sallad Fåröoise (inspired by Salade Nicoise)
400 g filé of smoked flounder (or other smoked fish)
400 g boiled new potatoes
150 g haricots verts (cooked al dente)
50 g baby spinach leaves
2 fresh onions
4 hard boiled eggs
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 envelope (.25 g) saffron
1 pressed clove of garlic
Slice potatoes, mix with haricots verts, spinach, quartered tomatoes and sliced onion. Plate. Mix dressing. Top salad with dressing, smoked fish and quartered eggs.
Wine: A light, fresh rosé with nice, fresh acidity such as Domaine Collavery, nr 2850, 80 SEK.
Pictures Ulrica Zwenger and Håkan Larsson.