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SWEDIS

Recipe: Delicious Swedish baked cod with spinach

This Swedish recipe for cod with spinach by food writer John Duxbury makes a great warm weekend meal.

Recipe: Delicious Swedish baked cod with spinach
Baked cod with spinach. Photo: John Duxbury

This is a fabulous dish and can be made with cod fillets or any similar fish, but it is particularly impressive when made with Skrei, a migratory cod caught off the coast of Norway between January and April. Although most Skrei tends to end up in posh restaurants it is possible to buy some from good fish mongers. For instance, in London it is usually sold on Borough Market from Furness Fish and Game during February and March.

Summary

Serves: 4
Level: Easy
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Tips

• Use a good quality fish stock, either homemade or ready-made, rather than using a bouillon cube.

• A mixture of button mushrooms and sliced chestnut mushrooms works really well.

• Adding lemon wedges to the dish before baking it makes them lovely and squidgy, if a little messy!

Ingredients

600 g(1¼ lb)Skrei or other white fish

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

150 g(6 oz)mushrooms, roughly sliced

½ onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp oil, for frying

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

250 g(9 oz)spinach

3 tbsp pinenuts

Sauce

200 ml(¾+ cup)whipping cream

200 ml(¾+ cup)fish stock

4 tbsp dry white wine

100 g(¾ cup)grated Parmesan cheese

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F, gas 7, fan 190°C).

2. Skin the fish (or ask your fishmonger to skin it) and then cut it into four pieces and lightly season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat the cream, stock and white wine in a saucepan without a lid and reduce until the sauce thickens, between 10-15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok and then lightly fry the sliced mushrooms and onions until soft, but without colouring. Add the garlic and after a minute the spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and spread over the base of a large gratin dish. Lie the fish on top of the spinach mixture.

5. When the sauce has thickened, add the Parmesan and stir to mix thoroughly. Pour the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the pinenuts on top.

6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked.

7. Serve with new potatoes and lemon wedges.

This is a recipe by John Duxbury originally published on his Swedish Food website.

For members

DISCOVER SWEDEN

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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