So it is Juhannnus? I am in Austria, and here, no one celebrates midsummer solstice.I spent my day, on Friday, sitting outside on our sauna terrace, and making “Vihta’s” for the winter.
They will be used in sauna on special occasion, to bathe.Something crazy that we Finns do in sauna.We beat ourselves with birch twigs.Must be that small savage still living inside us, which makes us to do something like that.Managed to make eight “Vihta’s”.
While sitting in front of the sauna and working, I had time to think our food politics.I knew, that my whole family were in the summer-house on lake side in Finland.Eating and drinking, and having fun.Gorging themselves full with new potatoes and all kind of good food!And yet again,I was missing out all of the fun.We cannot be in Finland because Kiddo is still in the school.Their summer holidays start quite late here in Austria. So I decided to make food which we would eat in summer-house.
Appetizer was straight forward operation.Caprese sticks and honey melon with Jamon Serrano ham.Wood garlic pesto, some rye crisps and fresh goat cheese topped with Hildegard von Bingen herbs.
Main course,flamed salmon and chanterelle sauce.And the potatoes in my vegetable garden were ready, same as carrots and spring onions.Perfect! Simple enough plan.
I tried flaming already once, in the grill, with small piece of salmon.The cedar blank, which I used, was too thin and started to burn quite fast.With the small piece of the salmon,it really didn’t matter, because it was cooked fast.
I remembered, that in our restaurant, in Finland we served steak grilled on a cedar blank, and those blanks were reused time after time again.They were really thick and in the end they were sintered completely.
Since we still have lots of leftover Alder planks from making the seating of the sauna, I asked if Hubby would be willing to make flaming blank for me. Alder,(https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Alder) is used in sauna seating, because it is soft wood, hence it does not heat up so fast and you do not burn your hiney while sitting in hot sauna.Lovely, belive me!
Hubby saw two untreated blanks,about 50cm length and 30cm wide.He planed them first smooth and screwed two small bits as legs in the bottom of the blank.I wanted this because heat circulated better under the wooden blank when there is little space.I am sorry I didn’t have brains to take pictures while he was making them but here is hot the whole thing looks now,well after using it once.
Preparing the salmon
First thing to do, is put your blank soaking in the water.Longer the better.This will prevent the blank to start to burn too fast.
I spiced the salmon with lemon pepper (Lemon pepper is a seasoning made from granulated lemon zest and cracked black peppercorns. The lemon zest is mashed with the pepper to allow the citrus oil to infuse into the pepper) and smoke salt.Nothing else.Simple stuff. It is good if you salt your salmon one night before you are planning to cook it.
Turn your grill on,high heat.Let it warm up proper,and then put the blank salmon on it in the grill.It is hard to estimate the time how long your salmon will need to be ready. Mine too half an hour.Keep checking that the blank is not starting to burn to wild.You do not want to ruin your grill.If flames get too big turn gas down and open the lid.
Test the thickest part of the fillet two minutes before the end of the estimated cooking time by carefully poking through the fillet with a fork to see if it flakes apart. Uncooked fish has a translucent color and spongy texture.
I pre boiled the carrots in caraway-sugar-salt water.Just little, so they took hint of taste and became little soft.I grilled onions and carrots together with the salmon.
Creamy Chanterelle Sauce
Butter for frying
500g fresh Chanterelle mushrooms, sliced(if they’re small enough, you can leave them whole)
1 medium onion, chopped
0,5l whipping cream
0,5l chicken or vegetable stock (or half Bouillon Pur stock capsule,if you opt to this, then double the cream amount or replace half of the liquid with milk)
Chopped fresh parsley for decorating if you like it.
Melt the unsalted butter in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat.
Boiling the new potatoes
You would think it is just easy no fuss thing? Oh no..My Mother is very strict, how you treat those precious new potatoes.She taught me the perfect way of boiling them.
Wash your potatoes,no need to peel, because very fresh potato skin is actually delicious to eat.Full of vitamins. Put your potatoes in kettle and this is the secret: POUR BOILING WATER ON THE POTATOES and bring them boiling. Add salt and dill in the boiling water.If you don’t belive me try it.It makes huge difference how you boil your potatoes!
Happy Juhannus to all!