The angle: Let's branch out from gravlax and apple cakes — Tina Nordström, Sweden's own celebrity chef, shows us what Scandinavian home-cooking is really all about.
Recipes for right now: Cress Salad with Coconut and Lime, White Asparagus Soup with Bread and Salami, Grilled Cod with Green Pea Pesto, Stuffed Lemon Bread, Mascarpone Gratin Blackberries with Grand Marnier
Who would enjoy this book? Fans of Scandinavian cuisine, my fellow Midwesterners, armchair-traveling cooks
• Who wrote it: Tina Nordström
• Who published it: Skyhorse Publishing
• Number of recipes: 234
• Other highlights: My knowledge of Scandinavian cuisine comes mainly from two sources. First, my Minnesota roots, which gave me a deep love for both rhubarb and sour cream. Second, from following Rene Redzepi's rise to stardom. Those two feel like polar opposites — the now-dated food of my immigrant heritage and the kinds of articulated modern dishes only possible in a Michelin-starred restaurants.
Enter Tina Nordström. She is a well-known Swedish chef who bridges the gap between old flavors in their traditional dishes and what it's like to cook and eat in Sweden today. Her food feels fresh and new — the kinds of dishes we'd serve at a casual Friday night dinner with friends or for breakfast when the in-laws are visiting — and yet it also feels distinctly "Scandinavian" in flavor and character.
At first I was surprised to see chapters on barbecue, tacos, tapas, and pizza in a book devoted to Scandinavian cooking, but then I had to laugh at myself. Aren't these things universally beloved?! Of course these dishes would have wiggled their way into Scandinavian cuisine just as they have wiggled their way into our own American cuisine. I love the new ingredients and flavor combinations these recipes offer, like dill and cumin cheese on a pizza, green pea guacamole for tacos, and tapas served with horseradish dip and salmon roe.
All in all, these Tina's recipes feel approachable and doable to me in a way I haven't yet felt from other cookbooks focused on Scandinavian cuisine. This feels more like a natural extension of what I already want to be cooking and eating, with some extra ingredients and serving ideas thrown in that I never would have thought of trying.
This Tina Nordström lady is definitely a chef to keep an eye on! I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of her here in the States in the years to come.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Scandinavian Cooking by Tina Nordström
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(Image credits: Emma Christensen)