Cloudberries, reindeer lichen, and black grouse aren't the sorts of ingredients everyone has in his or her pantry or local environment, but that shouldn't prevent home cooks and food lovers from being enchanted and inspired by Chef Magnus Nilsson's new cookbook, Fäviken.
• Who wrote it: Magnus Nilsson
• Who published it: Phaidon Press
• Number of recipes: 100; in addition to recipes the book includes essays on ingredients, techniques, Nilsson's culinary philosophy, and the Fäviken restaurant experience
• Recipes for right now:
- A tiny slice of top blade from a retired dairy cow, dry aged for nine months, crispy reindeer lichen, fermented green gooseberries, fennel salt
- Steamed Arctic char, pickled, salted, dried and pasteurized mushrooms, crab apples, fermented cucumbers and dried marigold petals from last summer
- Vegetables cooked with autumn leaves
- Grated red beets seasoned with raspberry vinegar, raspberry ice and jelly, yogurt
• Other highlights: Located on a remote 20,000-acre hunting estate near the Arctic Circle, Swedish restaurant Fäviken Magasinet is an unlikely but celebrated food lovers' destination. In his 12-seat restaurant, visionary Chef Magnus Nilsson creates hyper-local dishes featuring ingredients foraged, farmed, raised, and hunted on the surrounding lands. Using traditional techniques such as cooking over an open fire, butchering, and food preservation methods like pickling and fermentation (absolutely essential in this wild, chilly region), Nilsson creates food that truly honors its place, time, and culture.
Fäviken the book is more than just a cookbook. Nilsson writes recipes as
"guidelines, rather than exact instructions," encouraging readers to trust their intuition as well as the ingredients local to them. His deep respect for all ingredients is evident throughout the book, from his discussion of killing animals for meat to his one-page essay on "giving a carrot the attention it deserves." He also shares techniques and approaches to cooking that will be useful to anyone with an interest in making the most of seasonal food.
The book and its photographs so beautifully evoke a sense of place that even if one never cooked any of the exact recipes, it would still be worth the experience of stepping into this enchanted world. Nilsson writes of his restaurant, "I like to believe that what we do not only gives people pleasure in the moment, but also helps them to rediscover their connection with nature and their place in the world." We may not all be able to dine at Fäviken Magasinet, and we may not all have access to pine mushrooms and birch syrup, but anyone can be inspired to explore his or her own landscape, community, and its edible treasures.
• Who would enjoy this book? food and nature lovers; people interested in butchery, hunting, foraging, and food preservation; fans of Noma; and cooks who are looking for creative inspiration and aren't afraid to improvise in the kitchen
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Fäviken by Magnus Nilsson
(Images: Emily Han)