Fresh haddock fillets are baked an a bed of shredded vegetables and topped with delicious lemon almond gremolata. [low-fat and gluten-free]
When I first started researching New Nordic Cuisine, I wasn’t sure I could find a recipe suitable for the home chef or for this blog. I discovered gorgeous, earthy-looking plates of stuff that I honestly didn’t even know were edible: tartare of Swedish horse, pancakes of almond potatoes and pig blood, ant salt, beach grass, hay, bee wax ice cream…you get the picture. The concept of “New Nordic” was developed by a bunch of Scandinavian chefs who decided to take “eating locally and sustainably” to heart – to live and cook in tune with the seasons and in harmony with nature. It’s a philosophy that I love, but being a strict “locavore” is not easy, especially when you’re a chef that lives in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland or Sweden – where the winters are relentlessly long and frigid! Still, for some chefs, the challenges of the native climate have spurred their creativity and intensified their resolve to cook what nature has to offer.
One of the world’s top restaurants – Noma, in Copenhagen – is strictly New Nordic. Noma’s co-founders Claus Meyer and Rene Redzepi spearheaded the New Nordic Movement. In 2004, they got a group of top Scandinavian chefs together to discuss the future of Nordic Cuisine, and they drafted The New Nordic Kitchen Manifesto. Some key points: “…..base our cooking on ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly excellent in our climates, landscapes and waters and to reflect the changing of the seasons in the meals we make….combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge of health and well-being…..promote animal welfare and a sound production process in our seas, on our farmland and in the wild.” (This is fantastic – love it!)
I did eventually discover how to relate to New Nordic Cuisine. I totally embrace the part about local, seasonal, pure, simple, healthy, and cooked-from-scratch. This healthy dish has haddock (a North Atlantic fish) baked on top of shredded cabbage, fennel and asparagus (mostly fall veggies). The seasonings and topping are very simple: lemon, lemon zest, almonds, shallots, salt and pepper. The idea is to experience and appreciate the pure flavors of each fresh ingredient. Feel free to make substitutions: Cod would work in place of Haddock. For veggies, I think onions, snow peas, and zucchini would work really well in this dish.
The reason I got interested in learning about New Nordic Cuisine is because I was contacted a few weeks ago about a Nordic Food Festival that’s coming to my town of Newton MA. The festival is on Saturday September 20th from 11am – 3pm at the Scandinavian Cultural Center. It sounds like it’s going to be really fun and interesting: tasting stations with examples New Nordic cuisine, a salmon cook-off, an expert on foraging and the use of wild herbs, music, and activities for all ages. So if you’re in the area, check it out! PS New York City’s Nordic Festival is this weekend.
If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think.Print
NORDIC HADDOCK ON SHREDDED VEGETABLES with ALMOND GREMOLATA
Healthy baked fish and vegetables topped with lemon and almond gremolata.
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 - 5
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Scandinavian
- Yogurt Sauce:
- 3/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 small garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots (1 large or 2 small)
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped almonds
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Vegetables and Fish:
- 4 cups finely shredded green cabbage (1/3 – 1/2 cabbage)
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced by hand or with a mandoline (reserve fronds for garnish)
- 1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends cut off, sliced lengthwise into quarters and then in half crosswise (or if you find the super thin asparagus, just cut them in half crosswise)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 3/4 pounds skinless boneless haddock fillets (or substitute cod)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 juicy lemon)
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Make the Yogurt Sauce Stir all the ingredients together and keep covered in the fridge.
- Make the Gremolata Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, almonds and lemon zest and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until fragrant and softened a bit. Set aside.
- Cook the Vegetables and Fish: In a large bowl, toss the shredded vegetables with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Spread veggies out in a large casserole dish and cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Remove casserole from the oven. Place fish on top of the vegetables. Drizzle 2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle 3 tablespoons lemon juice over the fish. Season the fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Sprinkle the gremolata over the fish and vegetables. Put the casserole in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. (timing will vary based on the thickness of the fish)
- To Serve: Divide vegetables and fish between 4-5 plates. Decorate plates with fennel fronds, if you like. Serve with lemony yogurt sauce on the side.