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Summer RoundUp #7: Norway, Meeta {What’s for lunch, Honey?}

This winter I was searching for a good recipe of granola bars, when I stumbled upon Meeta’s blog, {What’s for lunch, Honey?} and her delicious recipe. I was dazzled by her colorful and intense photography, not to mention her great ability as story teller. Well, to cut a long story short, I made her granola bars. When you test and taste a recipe and it works perfectly, there’s no chance to come back: that recipe became one of my favourite ones and Meeta’s blog became one of my favourite blogs as well.

I had the chance, first through Twitter then thanks to Food Blogger Connect 2010, to to get to know Meeta (and the fab Spice Girls) better, and I definitely consider myself lucky to be able to call her a friend. But now, over to Meeta who will bring us with her to discover Norway, her latest holidays destination!


Pronounced connoisseurs might not find gourmet cuisine in Norway, but they will find good down-to earth dishes made with the most freshest of ingredients the country offers. Defining Norwegian cuisine is rather difficult and my recent trip to Norway introduced me to unexpected encounters with interesting and less interesting flavors to savor.

Traditionally, Norwegian cuisine is mainly based on ingredients readily available. As the country’s environment does not allow farmers to grow many types of vegetables or raise diverse animals, the dishes have a strong focus on game and fish.

Majestic landscapes and climatic contrasts not only offer a breathtaking experience for visitors to the country, but they are also the quintessence of the ingredients from which the culinary traditions of Norway are derived from. With a long and diverse coastline, Norway provides ample waters for wild and farm-raised fish, while the slow ripening process of fruit and vegetables during the mild but sun filled Nordic summer provides berries, pears, apples and other fruit and vegetables with a delicious and extraordinary flavor and aroma. Sheep, cows and livestock grazing on the rich, succulent pastures acquire a distinctive robust flavor.

One of Norway’s most famous dishes is smoked salmon and our walk through the fish market in Bergen was the most remarkable experience ever. After reading up and hearing so much about the Bergen fish market I was expecting something huge and impersonal. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the way this market has remained quaint and while it is a huge tourist attraction, if one gets there early enough there is something almost enchanting about watching the fishmongers prepare their stands with fresh and frozen fish.

In the early morning sun as the fishmongers went about setting up their catch of the day, they took time to chat with me and seemed to be quite flattered that I had so many questions. Proudly, they showed me their exceptional products. Smoked salmon spiced in a variety of flavors, lobsters, crayfish, crabs, fish of all sorts were displayed and recipes were exchanged. We literally tasted our way through the entire fish market. The Norwegians are an open and extremely friendly people and their relaxed attitude made the experience so much more enjoyable.

The recipe I present here is not a traditional Norwegian recipe. It is however inspired by my travels through the country, by Norway’s magnificent landscape, by the flavorful produce available and by the wonderful Norwegian people I had the pleasure of meeting and making friends with.

Come and join me on a virtual trip through Norway over at What’s For Lunch, Honey? as I share with you my stunning travels in my travelogue. Part one takes us through Mandal, Stavangar Preikestolen and the Hardanger region, while in part two we travel to Sognefjord, Nigardsbree, Oslo and Kragero.

Furthermore, the lovely Signe from Scandilicious recently did a survey on Twitter and asked What is Scandinavian food? Take a minute to read her interesting and candid article.

Recipe: Smoked Salmon “Oslo” with a Potato Beet and Cherry Salad
[Printable recipe here]

Preparing the fish
1.5 fresh whole salmon

Use only fresh salmon or salmon that was frozen immediately after catching and thawed just before cooking. Rinse the salmon in fresh water and trim all loose pieces and bones properly.  You can leave the skin on or removed it as you desire. I prefer leaving it on as it can be easily removed after the smoking process.

Brine the fish

  • 950 l water
  • 115g salt
  • 115g sugar
  • 90 ml vegetable stock
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbs. Pickling spice
  • 1/4 Tsp. Lemon pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Fresh dill

Mix all the ingredients except the fresh dill in a large glass, plastic or ceramic bowl or vessel, approx. 4 inches deep that will hold your fish until sugar and salt have dissolved. Do not use metal or wood containers for brining.

Place the fish in the brine solution ensuring that all pieces are completely submerged. Cover well and make sure the fish pieces stay covered in the brine solution. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours.

Remove the fish from the brine and place it on elevated racks for drying prior to smoking. I personally found it easiest to use the rack on our kettle barbecue. A good tip is to slightly oil the racks to avoid the fish sticking onto the rack. Place the fish in a cool breezy place and cover loosely to protect from insects. I placed the kettle barbecue outside and let the fresh air do it’s wonder. Leave for an hour. You will notice a thin glaze, which is called a pellicle, form on the fish The pellicle helps the fish to develop color and flavor as it is smoking. It also helps keep in the juices and retain the firm texture of the fish as it is smoked.

Smoking the fish

Smoking fish can be accomplished in many different types of smoking equipment. I do not have a particular smoking smoker so I improvised. I placed the fish covered with fresh dill in a bamboo steamer, which was placed on the rack of the kettle barbecue. Using cherry and apple wood and covering the barbecue, I was able to bring enough heat and smoke to cook the fish to perfection.

The temperature needs to come up to approx. 180 to 190 degrees C for the fish to be properly smoked. For a fish approx. 1 to 1.5 kg you’ll need about 2 to 3 hours. However, keep checking to make sure it does not overcook.

Smoked fish is done when it flakes easily while pressing it lightly with a knife or a fork. One can use an an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness too. Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Once the fish is ready, remove it and allow to cool of approx. 1.5 hours. Enjoy immediately or store wrapped in aluminum foil placed in air tight plastic bags.

Potato Beet and Cherry Salad

  • 300g new potatoes, halved and steamed with skins on
  • 2 beets (I used pre-cooked ones), quartered and sliced
  • 150g cherries, pitted and halved
  • 75g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 radish, sliced
  • 100g snow peas, steamed
  • 100g green peas, steamed


  • 200g quark or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • Olive oil, according to taste
  • Lemon vinegar, according to taste
  • Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper

Place all the vegetables, cherries and nuts in a large clean bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk all the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad. Gently toss so that all the ingredients are generously coated with the dressing. Leave for 30 minutes for flavors to combine and mingle with each other.

Break up the smoked salmon and serve over the salad. Perfect with this is some Norwegian flatbread or rustic bread.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. An inspiring post indeed from an awesome blogger on Juls beautiful blog! That’s a wonderful salad Meeta. Love the mix of ingredients and the way you brought it together! Delicious!

  2. Thanks to you Juls for allowing me to come over and be a guest at your lovely blog! Hope everyone enjoys this!

  3. Two talented ladies on one blog 🙂 What a great post Meeta – I am going to have to get Nick interested in smoking (he already does a great smoked pork loin – shouldn’t be too hard to get him started on salmon! Love the flavours here – the sweetness of the cherries and the salty salmon. Delicious! beautiful pics – and great choice of guest blogger, Juls!

  4. My boyfriend is from Norway and so I have been more than a few times and those photos really make me miss it there! I recognize those baskets of strawberries immediately, and I love how you can get such beautiful strawberries and cherries there in the summer. 🙂 Great recipe!

  5. I have been following Meeta’s travel journals and it is all this reading material that has made me add Norway to my list of places to visit. The landscape is absolutely stunning, nature is so magnificent. As for the food that she brings in this post, very delicious indeed. I love the recipe to brine the fish.

  6. This sounds fabulous and looks so fresh! Comes at just the right time too as I’ve just bought a whole bag of oak shavings to try my hand at diy smoking too.

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments. Hope the salad went down well. I really enjoyed guest hosting here on Juls’ lovely blog.

    Marisa let me know how that smoking went!

  8. Such lovely pictures! I myself am Norwegian; the second pair of pictures is taken in my city 🙂 Your blog is very fascinating and inspirational 😉 I’ll definitly pay attention to any new posts.

  9. I am searching for a recipe for sylteflesk made with pork butt…it is not head cheese. My grandmother born in 1888 in norway made it with pork butt when living in the usa.

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