11 (Sun) May 2014
Creamy Sailor Potatoes with Pan-Fried Halibut
in my apartment
-Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-
Recently, Number One Swedish Fan GK sent me a care package, which included a cookbook “Traditional Swedish Cooking” (see 5.100 Tomatsill on Baguette Slices).
Tonight, I attempted a recipe from the book. It was the first recipe-based dish that I’ve made in Manila yet.
In Swedish cuisine, the descriptor “sailor” involves simmering meats and/or potatoes in beer, as internet recipes would suggest. [Clarification from GK would be appreciated.]
On short notice, in light of difficulties in sourcing ingredients for many of the recipes in the book (e.g., reindeer meat is severely limited in Manila, or anywhere in the world, except perhaps Scandinavia), sailor potatoes was one of the more doable dishes.
At first, the potatoes didn’t turn out so great. The recipe called for “dark beer,” but the supermarket had only either lager or abbey-style/extra-dark/high-alcohol ale, so I went with the latter. Even after 45 minutes of cooking, both the broth and the potatoes remained extremely bitter. I turned off the heat, went back to the supermarket, and bought cream, hoping that it would mellow out the flavors. Yes, but not entirely.
Then, as I was eating the dish, I suddenly remembered that GK had also sent me lingonberry preserve – for non-Swedes, jam as a condiment doesn’t automatically come to mind – which I added to improve and further authenticate the experience.
As a result, the meal overall ended up great. A piece of savory fish, creamy if bitter potatoes, sweet and tangy jam to counterbalance. When I was finished, I actually said to myself, “This was a fine meal.”
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