Swedish Crayfish

The annual ‘kräftskiva’, or crayfish party, in Sweden is not something to take lightly. It’s a celebrated with plenty of crayfish, salads and silly hats. Because the summers are so short in Scandinavia it feels right to mark the arrival of locally caught crayfish with a big party.

Dill crowns, the flowering part of the fully grown plant, are commonly found on farmers’ markets in Sweden but less readily available elsewhere. You can grow them at home, or source them from specialist suppliers who stock edible flowers and pollen varieties. Fennel fronds or dill fronds would make good alternatives.

about 50 crayfish

7oz sea salt

4 tsp caster sugar

1 pint beer

large bunch of dill crowns, stalks removed

Bring about 10½ pints (6 liters) water to the boil in a large pan and add the salt, sugar and beer. Add most of the dill crowns, reserving a few for serving, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the crayfish and cook for 5–7 minutes before removing from the heat. Cool the pan quickly by placing in a tub or bath with cold water, iced if possible. The crayfish can be kept in their brine for up to 2 days.

To serve, drain and decorate with the remaining dill crowns. Serve with lemon aioli.

Cold Poached Salmon with Herb Sauce (Örtagårdssås)


1 whole salmon, weighing about 1 lb. 12oz filleted and pin-boned


7fl oz white wine vinegar

1¾oz sugar

1 leek, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

10 peppercorns

3 bay leaves


3½fl oz sour cream

2 tbsp mayonnaise

small bunch each of parsley, dill and chives, finely chopped

½ unwaxed lemon, zest and juice

pinch of caster sugar


1 lemon, sliced

½ cucumber, sliced

Begin by making the sauce. Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and herbs. There should be about 1 tablespoon of each chopped herb. Add the lemon zest and a squeeze of juice, then season to taste with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed but serve at room temperature.

Bring all the ingredients for the poaching liquor to a simmer in a large pan along with 2¾ pints water and 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Simmer for 5 minutes then pour into a fish kettle or large high-sided oven tray set over a medium heat.

Carefully lower the salmon fillet into the liquid, ensuring it is completely covered (if not, add a little more water). Bring to barely a simmer and cook for 10–12 minutes until the fish is just cooked. Lift the fillet out of the poaching liquid and onto a plate, carefully peel off the skin and allow to cool completely.

Serve garnished with the lemon and cucumber slices and the room temperature sauce alongside.

Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic and Currant Marinade

4 lbs leg of lamb 1 tsp sugar

½ cup red currants

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp rosemary, minced

½ lemon, juice and zest

2 tsp salt

1½ tsp black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°F

Cut away any large chunks of fat, membrane and tendons from the leg of lamb, then pat it dry.

Sprinkle the sugar over the berries and let them sit for a couple of minutes before crushing them with a fork. Add the garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Stir together then rub on the meat, making sure to cover every inch. Let the lamb marinate at room temperature for 45 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

Place the lamb on an oven rack in a baking pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Make sure the rack is high enough that the lamb is not sitting in the cooking water. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350°F and let roast for 70 to 80 more minutes, or until the lamb’s internal temperature has reached 145°F for medium rare or 155°F for medium.

Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before slicing it. Make a jus from the collected juices by reducing them to half in a small saucepan and if you would like, add a little heavy cream to it right before serving.

Serve with roasted Potatoes and a green salad.

Grilled Whole Red Snapper

2 red snappers, scaled and gutted

Salt and pepper

6 sprigs marjoram

4 sprigs flat-leaved parsley

Several celery leaves

1 lemon, sliced

Olive oil

Season the fish cavities with salt and pepper then stuff each cavity with marjoram sprigs, parsley, celery leaves and 2 to 3 lemon slices. Rub the outside of the snapper generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill and grill the fish on high heat for 7 minutes per side. The fish will let go of the grill and you can easily flip it over when cooked through. If the fish sticks to the grill try giving it a couple more minutes and see if it does let go on its own (if not, you probably didn’t use enough oil and will need to carefully scrape it off the grill).

Serve with a refreshing salad, such as a tomato salad

Fried Cod Cheeks


2 cups peanut oil

1 lb cod cheeks

Salt and pepper

¾ cup flour

¼ tsp smoked paprika

1 cup beer


¾ cup Skyr

½ lemon, juice and zest

Handful dill, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a deep fryer or deep skillet, heat the peanut oil to 350 to 375°F (175 to 190°C).

Rinse the cod cheeks under cold water and pat them dry, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Stir the flour, smoked paprika, and a little bit of salt and pepper together, then slowly whisk in the beer. Dip one cheek at a time into the batter, let the batter drip off, then transfer directly to the oil and let them fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.

For the dipping sauce:

Whisk together the skyr, lemon juice and zest and finely chopped dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pan-Fried Quick Cured Salmon With Dill Vinaigrette


2 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp sugar

1 lemon, zest and juice

4 salmon fillets, about 5½oz each, skin on

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for frying

1½ tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp finely chopped dill

Mix the sea salt and sugar together with the lemon zest and a teaspoon of juice. Rub the mixture all over the salmon fillets, cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes. Brush off any excess salt/sugar mixture then pat dry using kitchen paper.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the vinaigrette. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Add a little olive oil to a hot frying pan and fry the salmon fillets (in batches if needed) for about 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and the skin is crispy. Serve warm, drizzled with the vinaigrette.

Poached Salmon with Dill Sauce

For the Salmon:

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Table salt

4 (6-ounce) fillets salmon

For the sauce:

1 cup packed fresh dill

1 small green onion

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Special equipment:

Blender or food processor

To poach the salmon, in a wide, deep skillet with a lid, add 1 inch of water. Add the vinegar, and bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat.

Lightly salt the salmon, and add it, skin side down, to the poaching liquid.

Cover, reduce the heat until the liquid barely simmers, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the salmon fillets.

While the salmon is cooking, make the dill sauce. In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the dill, green onion, mayonnaise, sour cream, and vinegar. Process until smooth.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked salmon from the skillet. Serve topped with the dill sauce.

Susan’s Ham

Honestly I have no idea who Susan is, but her ham is delicious.

  • Ham
  • Whole cloves
  • Dijon mustard
  • Brown Sugar
  • Apple Juice
  • 8 ounces of figs
  • 8 ounces of prunes
  • 8 ounces of other dried fruits
  • Port

Score ham and press in whole cloves.  Cover ham with Dijon mustard. Pat with brown sugar. Baste with apple juice. Cook at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

soak figs, prunes and dried fruit in a good port while it cooks. Pour over ham and 1/2 hour more. Serve fruit and juice hot with ham.

Chicken Marbella

One of the recipes in The Silver Palate Cookbook published in 1981 was for Chicken Marbella, which was apparently the most popular dish at the Silver Palate. It ended up becoming a Shabbat dinner and Passover Seder staple throughout America.  While that may seem odd, it actually makes a good bit of sense. There’s a strong tradition of pairing fruit and meat in Jewish culinary history, and as a Jew Sheila Lukins was a part of this tradition.  Here is my riff on that recipe for a large group of people.

  • 4 chickens (2 1/2 pounds each), cut up
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup pitted Spanish olives
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup of good white wine

Marinate chicken with all but last three ingredients in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange in a single layer.  Sprinkle brown sugar, pour white wine around and bake for 50-60 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a platter.  Moisten with a few tablespoons of pan juices.  Sprinkle parsley over top.  Reduce pan juices and use as a gravy.

Mexican Shakshouka

Shakshouka typically is a simple and quick North African dish of eggs poached in a spicy stew of tomatoes and peppers.  Here is a riff of the classical dish with Mexican flavors.

  • 1 1/2 pounds sausage (Turkey sausage if you keep kosher)
  • butter
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 4-6 tomatoes, diced
  • salt, pepper, sugar to taste
  • cheese, typically cheddar
  • 8 eggs

brown sausage. Add peppers, onions and salsa.  Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar to taste.  Place cheese slices on top to melt.  Break eggs over melted cheese.  Cover.