Ireland or Sweden? You decide

FOOD

Euro 2016 is upon us already and on Monday, the boys in green face Sweden in their opening match. It should be a great game with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish maestro trying to outscore our own super striker Shane Long. It made me think about the different foods that are associated with each country, and which recipes would win if they faced each other in a food Euro competition.

Gravalax

The Swedes have a lovely starter called Gravalax, which is not unlike the smoked salmon recipe that we have here in Ireland, and easy to make cheaply in your own home. Here is my version of the Swedish dish

Ingredients

500g of fresh salmon fillet - skin on

60g of sugar                                                       

90g of salt                                                        

6 tbsp of chopped dill                        

2 tbsp of lemon juice                            

1 tsp of crushed white pepper   

For the sauce

2 tbsps English mustard

1 tbsp of Dijon mustard

2 tbsps of sugar   

1 tbsps of red wine vinegar

200mls of vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

Chopped dill

Method

First, you should scale the salmon and remove any small bones that might still be on it, but leave the skin on... Make a few scores in the skin so that the marinade can get in and penetrate the salmon from underneath. Mix together the salt, sugar, pepper, chopped dill, the lemon juice and spread it all around the salmon, leave it to marinade for 4 or 5 hours at room temperature, turning the fish in the marinade regularly, then stick it into the fridge for 24 hours turning when you can.....The acid in the lemon juice will slowly start to cook the fillet. Before you serve it, rinse the fish in cold water and then slice it as thin as possible.

To make the sauce whisk together both the mustards, the sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper with an electric whisk, slowly drizzle the oil into it and when you have a mayonnaise type consistency add the chopped dillTo serve this popular delicacy, place 2 or 3 slices of Gravalax on each plate with a wedge of lemon, some crisp salad leaves and a dollop of your homemade sauce on the side. It really is a delicious starter, and although it is a traditional Swedish dish, I love to eat it with homemade Irish brown bread.

Poached egg and black pudding salad

This classic Irish dish goes down great with a little bit of crispy bacon, herb croutons and parmesan cheese and serves four people.

Ingredients

1 bag of mixed leaves (washed )

16 cherry tomatoes (halved )

A little vinaigrette

4 slices of streaky bacon

1 black pudding (cut into 12 slices )

4 eggs herb croutons

Grated parmesan cheese

Method

In a large bowl, mix the leaves, cherry tomatoes and dressing together, and divide into four serving bowls. Grill the bacon until crispy and crumble evenly over the salad. Pan fry the pudding lightly and poach the eggs in boiling salted water for about two minutes. Place three pudding slices on each salad and top with the soft poached egg.

Sprinkle with the croutons and cheese and serve warm. And that’s it, simple to cook at home, and if you got this in a restaurant, you would be delighted.

So what do you think? Ireland or Sweden, which recipe does it for you? If anyone has a culinary question, feel free to contact me on [email protected] and I will do my best to answer it. Next week I will focus on Belgian and Italian recipes, as we play both nations in the same group; Come on Ye Boys In Green….

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