Midsummer is upon us and Swedes are fairly well tuned into the rhythms of nature. At this time, many begin their long annual summer break and everyone is in a hurry to get things done and prepared during the relatively short summer season. Midsummer’s Eve is celebrated in the countryside and on the day before, everyone leaves town, everything shuts and the city streets are suddenly eerily deserted.
A typical Midsummer table features different kinds of pickled herring, boiled new potatoes (Swedes adore new season potatoes) with sour cream and chives. This is often followed by grilled meat or salmon, and for dessert the first strawberries of Summer, with cream of course. This is all washed down with beer and schnaaps. There’s always singing and dancing around a maypole and girls wear a garland of fresh flowers in their hair.
Not typically served at Midsummer however Laxpudding is considered to be one of the best examples of humanskost (home cooking) in Sweden. It is mouth-wateringly delicious and perfect to serve a crowd. Melted butter and lots of dill gives it a sumptuous taste and appearance. Any kind of sliced salmon, such as salted salmon, smoked salmon or gravad lax can be used provided the amount of salt is varied. I like to use salmon and cod, brined before hand.
Laxpudding (Salmon & Potato Pudding)
Brine for the fish
- 1 Litre cold Water
- 90 g Sea Salt
- 45 g Caster Sugar
- 300 g Cod
- 300 g Salmon
- 300 g Brined Salmon
- 300 g Brined Cod
- 900 g Waxy Potatoes
- 2 Onions peeled and thinly sliced
- 25 g Dill finely chopped
- 5 Medium Eggs
- 500 mls Whole Milk
- 125 ml Whipping Cream
- 75 g Butter for greasing and serving
- Lemon Wedges
- 2 tbsp chopped dill
- Finely chopped red Onion and melted butter
- Green Salad
- Begin by mixing the water, salt and sugar, stir until dissolved. Place the salmon and cod in a glass dish and pour over the brine, cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Remove the fish from the brine and rinse briefly with cold water. Slice.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Simmer until just cooked through. Drain and cool, then remove the skins and cut the potatoes into ½-cm-thick slices.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add ½ tbsp of butter. Fry the onions with a pinch of salt until translucent and remove from the pan.Heat the oven to 190°C (Fan). Grease a 20cm baking dish with a little butter or fully line with baking parchment if you intend to turn it out, I used a cake tin. Layer a third of the potatoes at the bottom. Cover with a layer of half the onion, then a layer of both cod and salmon. Season very lightly with salt and pepper, scatter half the dill on top, then repeat with layers of potato, onion, cod, salmon and dill. Top with the remaining third of the potatoes. Mix the eggs, milk and cream. Pour over the assembled pudding and bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden and the eggs are set. Cool for 30-40 minutes. Leave in the dish you cooked it in or carefully remove the pudding and sprinkle with a little more dill. I like to press the chopped dill all around the edge of the pudding. (see photo).
- Add the remaining butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter starts to foam. Pour a little butter over a slice of pudding and scatter chopped red onion on the melted butter. Serve with lemon wedges and a green salad.