Most weeknights you just want to throw things together for a quick dinner, don’t you? I know because I do! And that’s why I have taken the concept of meal-in-a-bowl to another realm 😉 But sometimes an inspiration fuels your creativity and something artistic, elaborate and truly special starts taking shape, steering you gently away from that done-to-death meal-in-a-bowl!
My inspiration was the afternoon I spent a few weeks ago with world-renowned Nobel chefs Mark Phoenix and Fredrik Forsell, cooking a classic Swedish meal of Baked Salmon Puck, Saffron Aioli, Fennel and Carrot Crudités with White Wine Vinaigrette, and Shallot Croutons. Yes, I know, that’s some serious inspiration, considering the Nobel Banquet Dinner in Stockholm, Sweden feeds 1500 Nobel laureates, students and the royal family every year, is a lavish multi-course affair spread over 4 hours, and costs nearly a million US dollars! Phew!
So, I decided to flex my hair muscles, dream big and put my kitchen, and my cooking skills, to the test. My dish last night was a slightly tweaked version of the Nobel chefs’, simply because not everything was available or accessible. Let’s just say the demonetisation situation and its bundle of woes right now in the country is not very conducive to food lovers 😤
The Baked Salmon Puck I made was tied together with Garlic Chives, and that my friends, is so fiddly that it’s infinitely tougher to achieve the ‘puck’ shape compared to the broad and sturdy Leek stalks the chefs had us use. For the Crudités, I used sliced Baby Fennel, Orange segments and Caper berries. For the white wine vinaigrette, it was fresh Dill instead of Chives. Nothing exciting left at Magazine Street Kitchen‘s new bakery in Bandra meant I had to improvise there too, but imagine my pure joy when a Diwali hamper revealed a pack of Swedish Knäckebörd crisp rye bread. I could have asked for the Supermoon, right? 😉
So the only thing that remained exactly the same was the Saffron Aioli, made painstakingly by hand! Aaaarggghh! And for the heart of the dish? No compromises there either. Picked up some lovely, fresh, pin-boned and filleted Atlantic Salmon from Godrej Nature’s Basket on a sudden happy splurge, and it tasted of the sea… as it rightfully should!
Of course, the credit goes to Chef Mark and Chef Fredrik who came up with such a clean, fresh, simple yet power-packed dish so full of flavours and contrasting textures, and so pretty to look at. But I dare say the chefs would have been proud of what I slogged at, plated up and then went on to lick clean in minutes last night. Proud enough for a Nobel prize? Now that’s pushing it! 😉