It was fascinating to read about dinner service at Faviken and how precisely everything is timed. The dining room seats sixteen, and everyone is seated and served at the same time. The carefully chosen, dried, cut, and precisely cooked meats are placed on warmed plates which are hurried to the dining room. There’s a practiced choreography of cooking, plating, and delivery. In the summer, vegetables are picked in the garden moments before they land on plates. Kale is described as “steamed so briefly that it is dying on the plate.” I’d love to see this kitchen in action, and I’d love to taste the food. The recipes in the book are presented exactly as they are prepared in the restaurant. That means some ingredients and techniques seem very particular like “one lavender petal from last summer” and “vinegar matured in the burned-out trunk of a spruce tree.” But, I took the recipes as inspiration to think seasonally about what’s available here and now. I was intrigued by a dish in the book that included a pork chop and semi-dried pickled root vegetables. I replaced the pork with a simply seared piece of fish, and focused on the pickled vegetables. I stopped by the farmers’ market and found two kinds of carrots, Chioggia beets, red radishes, and daikon radish. I made a brine with apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt and added fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and dried red chiles. The chopped root vegetables became quick, refrigerator pickles which I chilled for a few days. Then, I followed the instructions for the semi-dried pickled vegetables in the book. The vegetables were sliced and left on a parchment-lined baking sheet to dry for a couple of days. Then, they were sliced into skinny sticks. I also made the herb salt from the book which is one way fresh herbs are preserved for the winter at the restaurant. I gathered oregano and chives from my herb garden, chopped them in a food processor, mixed them with sea salt, and pushed the mix through a sieve. Nilsson explains that as the herb salt slowly dulls over the winter months, he finds the change in flavor interesting. To keep the herb salt bright green, it can be stored in the freezer.
The semi-dried pickled vegetables were chewy and maintained good puckery flavor. They were a great match to a simple piece of fish, and the herb salt added a fresh savoriness. I didn’t attempt to create a full progression of dishes as would be served at the restaurant, but I enjoyed taking bits and pieces from the book for a simple meal. There’s a lot to be inspired by in the book and applied to what’s available wherever you’re cooking.
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