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A taste of Norway

A Taste of Norway: The Cold Buffet



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The cold buffet


Marinated herring
Old-fashioned marinated herring
Herring in tomato sauce
Herring in curry sauce
Smoked salmon with scrambled egg
Cheese and ham omelette

Cured meat with sour cream
Whole glazed trout
Composition with egg and caviar
Crab salad with coriander
Marinated salmon
A summer salad
Selection of cheeses
The laden smorgasbord is a feature of hotels and restaurants all over Norway. It is also a popular way of entertaining a lot of guests in private homes. Many of the dishes are delicious on their own as a first course or supper dish. Smoked salmon, cold cured meat and a selection of marinated herring dishes are an indispensable part of a Norwegian cold buffet.

Marinated herring

Herrings, "the silver treasure of the sea", were a very significant item in the diet of people in the old days. There were many ways of preparing them: pickling, frying, or salting followed by cooking. Today herrings are seldom eaten as a main dish, but no smorgasbord is complete without marinated herring in some form.

Old-fashioned marinated herring
(Gammeldags sursild)

4 salted herrings
2-3 large onions
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 tbsp mustard seeds
8-10 cloves
5-6 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
2 dl vinegar (7% strength)
4 dl cold water
3 dl sugar

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Soak the herrings in water for 1-2 hours, rinse them, fillet them and cut them in 1.5 cm strips. Slice the onion into thin rings. Mix together the spices, onion and herring. Mix the vinegar, sugar and cold water, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cover the herring with the vinegar marinade and leave for at least 1 day.

Herring in tomato sauce

3-4 salted herrings, or 6-8 fillets
1 onion
2 pickling cucumbers
1 bay leaf
a few cloves
1 dl tomato ketchup
1 dl soy bean oil
2 tbsp sugar

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Soak the herrings for 1-2 hours. Clean and fillet the herrings. Dry them well and cut them into very small pieces. Mix together the ketchup, oil and vinegar to form a smooth sauce. Season to taste with sugar. Mix the herring into the tomato sauce along with the onion and cucumbers, cut into small pieces. Mix well and add the bay leaf and cloves. Leave in a cool place for about 1 week.

Herring in curry sauce

4-6 spiced herring fillets, soaked in water
165 g mayonnaise
approx. 1 dl sour cream
1 1/2-2 tsp curry powder
2 hard-boiled eggs

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Mix the mayonnaise with the sour cream and add the curry. Slice the herrings diagonally in 2-3 cm thick slices. Mix the herrings with the sauce. Save a few herrings for garnish. Arrange the herrings in sauce in a dish and garnish with segments of egg and pieces of herring.

Smoked salmon with scrambled egg

Smoked salmon is traditionally accompanied by scrambled egg in Norway, and no smorgasbord is complete without it. Slice the salmon thinly and arrange in overlapping slices on a dish together with the scrambled egg, which is scrambled fairly hard and served at room temperature. Garnish with fresh dill or parsley.

Cheese and ham omelette

(Serves 4)

4 eggs
4 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
200 g grated Swiss-type cheese or Jarlsberg
2-3 tbsp finely sliced leek
75-100 g chopped boiled ham
or smoked sausage
butter for frying

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Beat together the eggs, water and salt. Melt the butter in the frying pan and pour in the egg mixture. Scatter the cheese, ham or sausage and leek over the eggs. Place a lid on the frying pan and leave for 6-8 minutes on low to medium heat.

This is a sustaining type of omelette which can be served with bread as a supper dish or with fried potatoes and salad as a main dish.

Recipe from TINE Kjøkken

Cured meat with sour cream

Cured ham, cured leg of mutton and dried sausages of various kinds have long been a staple of the Norwegian diet. They have a number of traditional accompaniments, including scrambled egg, sour cream and cold potato salad, or sometimes simply sour cream and flatbread. Cured ham is at its best in summer, and served with new potatoes and other new vegetables it captures the very flavour of a Scandinavian summer.

Whole glazed trout

(Serves 4)

1 whole trout, weighing approx. 1.5 kg
Per litre water:
2 tbsp salt
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns
1 slice of lemon
5 dl water or fish stock
Garnish:
parsley, fresh dill and lemon slices

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Choose a saucepan that will hold the fish bent into a semicircle. Place the fish with the backbone uppermost in the saucepan, just cover with water and add the flavourings. Bring to the boil and skim. The fish should only simmer for about 8 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave the fish in the stock until it is cold, preferably until it is to be served. It can be kept like this for up to a day in the refrigerator.

A 1-1.5 kg trout should simmer for 5 minutes.
A 1.5-2.5 kg trout should simmer for 8 minutes.
A 2.5-3 kg trout should simmer for 10 minutes.

Dissolve the aspic. Remove the fish from the stock and cut along the back fins, around the tail and around the head. Pull the skin carefully off the body, leaving it on the tail and head. Remove the strip of fat along the back fins. Let the fish drain before placing it on a serving dish. When the aspic begins to thicken, brush the whole fish with aspic. Be sure to cover the whole fish, as this will prevent it from becoming dry. Garnish with lemon slices, parsley and fresh dill.

Recipe from the Norwegian Seafood Export Council Photo: Bengt Wilson

Composition with egg and caviar

Egg and fish roe form a delicious combination for a smorgasbord. Allow one egg and a little fish roe per person. The following combination both tastes and looks good.

1 portion:
1 tbsp red trout or salmon caviar
1 tbsp yellow capelin caviar
1 tbsp black lumpfish caviar
1 egg, boiled for 8 minutes,
divided into segments
1 1/2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp red onion sliced into rings

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Arrange the egg, caviar, sour cream and onion rings on a plate. Serve with toast, butter and a glass of beer.

Recipe from Vårt norske kjøkken, KOM forlag 1993. Photo: Per Eide Studio

Crab salad with coriander

1 head of lettuce
3 shallots
1 carton crème fraîche (1 1/2 dl)
3 dl whipping cream
2 dl peeled, deseeded tomatoes
meat of two crabs
fresh coriander

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Shred the lettuce leaves and place them in a bowl. Whip the cream and mix it with the crème fraîche. Finely chop the onion and tomatoes and fork lightly into the cream together with the crab meat and a little coriander if desired. Pour the mixture over the lettuce. Garnish with fresh coriander or parsley.

Recipe from Norwegian Information Centre for Fruit and Vegetables

Marinated salmon
(Gravet laks)

For each kg of fish you will need:

1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp white pepper
plenty of dill, preferably fresh, but dried can also be used.

With this method of marination, the fish should first be frozen. The fish is easiest to fillet when it has almost, but not quite, thawed. Do not remove the skin; this makes it easier to slice before serving. If you buy fillets, keep them in the freezer for a day before you start preparations.

Mix the salt, sugar and pepper and rub well into the fish along with the dill. Place the fillets in pairs with the skin sides facing each other in a large dish on a bed of dill. Place a light weight on them. Leave them to stand for two days, turning twice a day.

Serve the salmon in thin slices, garnished with fresh dill. This dish is accompanied by a mustard sauce. If served as a main dish, it can be accompanied with creamed potatoes, and if served as a lunch dish, by brown bread.

Mustard sauce

2 tbsp mild mustard
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
2 dl soy bean oil
finely chopped fresh dill,
or dried if necessary

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Beat together the mustard, egg yolk and sugar. Mix the oil and vinegar and add little by little to the egg and mustard mixture, making sure that the sauce is thick and smooth. Add plenty of dill.

A summer salad

1 radicchio rosso or red lollo lettuce
6 tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 punnet of mushrooms
1 bunch of radishes
150 g boiled ham
150 g Jarlsberg or similar cheese
4 eggs

Dressing:

3 dl cream
165 g mayonnaise
1 bunch of chives
1/2 bulb of fennel or
100 g chopped almonds
coarsely ground pepper

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First make the dressing. Chop the fennel or watercress (this is optional), chives and almonds and sprinkle with pepper. Whip the cream and mix with the mayonnaise. Mix in the herbs and almonds.

Boil the eggs for 8-10 minutes, peel them and divide them into quarters. Tear the lettuce leaves. (Use several kinds of lettuce if possible.) Slice the tomatoes, cucumber and radishes. Cut the cheese into dice and the ham into strips. Layer the tomatoes with the lettuce, cucumber, radishes, cheese, ham and eggs. Serve the dressing separately. Serve with crusty French bread.

Recipe from the Norwegian Information Centre for Fruit and Vegetables

Selection of cheeses

A good smorgasbord needs a selection of cheeses. Choose a number of different kinds, and garnish the cheese board with radishes, grapes, celery, sliced pears and strips of sweet pepper.


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This recipe book is produced by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is copied with permission.

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