We love the new book Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking ($28; amazon.com) for two reasons: 1) it allows people the chance to enjoy delicious Swedish food without trekking to Ikea, and 2) along with recipes, Fire + Ice shares Scandinavian dining traditions, giving readers a more in-depth look into Nordic culture. One such example from the book, written by Darra Goldstein, a professor, author, and the founding editor of the James Beard Award-winning journal Gastronomica, is Gubbröra (“old man’s mix”), or Egg Salad with Swedish Anchovies. The dish is traditionally served late at night with a beer and schnapps in order to invigorate a party, and is typically spread on dark bread or crispbread. Give the recipe a try at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner to offset turkey’s tryptophan.
Gubbröra: Egg Salad with Swedish Anchovies
Chef's Note: If you want to present the gubbröra in eggshells, use an egg topper or sharp knife to cut a crosswise band through each shell so that you can use the half shells for serving. It’s fine if the edges are a little jagged.
1 (4.4-oz) can Swedish anchovies
1 small red onion, minced (about 1⁄2 cup)
4 eggs, at room temperature
1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Dark bread or crispbread, for serving (optional)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (2-oz) jar whitefish roe, for garnish (optional)
Finely chopped fresh dill or chives, for garnish
1. Drain the anchovies, reserving some of the brine, and chop them into small pieces. Set aside.
2. In a small frying pan over low heat, gently cook the onion in the butter for 3 to 4 minutes. When the onion softens, add the anchovies and stir until “melted,” about 30 seconds. Stir in a little of the reserved brine. The amount of brine depends on how salty you want the dish to taste. Keep the mixture warm over very low heat.
3. Meanwhile, place the eggs in a pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that the water is simmering rapidly. Cook the eggs until the yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Pour off the water from the pan and immediately run cold water over the eggs to stop further cooking.
4. Stir the parsley into the warm anchovy mixture. Crack the eggs and scoop them right into the pan, breaking them up with a rubber spatula.
5. Leave the mixture on low heat for a half minute or so, just long enough for it to warm through. Be careful not to overcook the gubbröra or the eggs will turn rubbery.
6. Spoon the gubbröra onto dark bread or crispbread, or serve it with a small spoon in eggshells (see note). Grind a generous amount of pepper onto each serving. If desired, top with a spoonful of whitefish roe. Garnish with finely chopped fresh dill or chives.
Reprinted with permission from Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking, by Darra Goldstein, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.