Toast Skagen [Sweden]

When I visited my friend in Sweden, one of the dishes on my must-try list was Toast Skagen. And it did not disappoint. I loved it so much that the night her fiance planned to cook dinner for us, I asked him to include this classic on the menu! Contrary to intuition, with Skagen being a fishing port in northern Denmark, toast Skagen is a Swedish dish invented in 1956 by the Swedish chef Tore Wretman.

The recipe below was originally a no-recipe recipe, where my friend’s fiance obtained a list of ingredients from his brother (who used to mix together the ingredients for toast skagen at his supermarket job) and intuitively combined them following a 1:1 ratio of mayonnaise to creme fraiche; however when I recreated the dish at home, I measured out each of the ingredients from the list for you in the recipe below to give you guidelines on where to start. As with any recipe, feel free to alter it to your tastes.

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Cremini Mushroom & Camembert Cheese Crostini [Italy]

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“Crostini” translates into “little crusts” in Italian and the variations are endless. They can be simply brushed with extra-virgin olive oil before being seasoned with salt and pepper, or topped with any combination of meats, vegetables, cheeses and herbs! For today, we have a baguette slice that has been brushed with butter and toasted until the exterior is just crisp before being topped with a slice of gooey Camembert cheese followed by cremini mushrooms that’s been cooked with shallots, garlic and parsley. A hit of lemon juice during cooking and even right before serving adds a burst of brightness that takes each bite to the next level.

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Omelette Au Jambon Et Au Fromage [France]

 

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“Baveuse” – a French word used to describe perfectly cooked rolled omelettes where the exterior is smooth and uncolored and the interior is loose and slightly runny. To achieve this, make sure the pan you’re using is properly seasoned or opt for a nonstick pan. Then play with the heat. You want a nice, gentle heat so that the pan is thoroughly heated, but not too hot that the butter browns and colors the eggs when added.

Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can customize your omelette any way you like. We know it’s hard, but restraint in the amount of filling you add is key! We’ve been guilty of “unrollable” masses that ended up being diner omelettes (still delicious though!) as opposed to the more elegant rolled omelettes.

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Blueberry Mint Cream Cheese Galette [France]

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A galette is a free-form French tart and whether is it is filled with fruits, vegetables, dairy, or meats speaks to the personality of the baker. Galettes are rustically charming and incredibly forgiving to make. Ragged edges? Meh. Uneven folds? That’s okay too! The most important thing is to bake until the filling is gently bubbling and the crust reaches a beautiful golden brown color.

When combining the ingredients of the dough for the galette crust, try to handle it as little as possible. Overworking the dough will cause the development of too much gluten, which will result in an overly elastic dough that will shrink when baked and give you a tough crust instead of the tender, flaky crust that defines the best galettes.

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Gratin Dauphinois [France]

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From the historic French region of Dauphiné hails this decadent dish where layers upon layers of thinly sliced potatoes are embraced lovingly by milk, cream, and cheese before being baked to perfection. The creamy interior will have the faintest hint of garlic and nutmeg while the golden crust is all about the savory Gruyère cheese.

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When shopping for potatoes for this dish, go for a starchy potato such as the Idaho, Golden Wonder, or any type of Russet potato. Usually waxy potatoes are better suited for gratins, however, for this dish we need the extra starch to help thicken the sauce.

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