Signe Johansen’s Scandinavian recipes: A new take on the family feast

Perfect for a buffet – well, smörgåsbord, actually – these Scandinavian recipes from chef Signe Johansen’s new book, are a tasty new take on the family feast.

Crayfish, traditional style

The annual kräftskiva, or crayfish party, is an August highlight in Sweden. Because the summers are so short, it feels right to mark the arrival of locally caught crayfish with a convivial affair full of salads, snaps (shots of aquavit or similar spirit) and silly hats. In Britain crayfish can be found at some fishmongers and numerous online suppliers. Dill crowns, the flowering part of the fully grown plant, are commonly found at farmers’ markets in Sweden but less readily available elsewhere. You can grow them at home or source them from specialist suppliers who stock edible flowers. Fennel fronds or dill fronds would make good alternatives.

crayfish
Ali Allen

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Spring vegetable tart with mustard cream and watercress

Wonderful as a vegetarian centrepiece for a springtime smörgåsbord (Scandinavian buffet) or as an accompaniment to fish and meat dishes, this spring vegetable tart tastes as delicious as it looks.

spring vegetable tart
Ali Allen

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Fennel and celeriac slaw

Sweet, crisp, savoury and nutty – this slaw has an added aromatic boost thanks to the aniseed flavour of fennel. It pairs well with duck and other roast meats, such as chicken, lamb or beef.

fennel and celeriac slaw
Ali Allen

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Prawn skagen

Named after the picturesque headland at the northerly tip of Jutland, a peninsula in Denmark between the North Sea and the Kattegat, skagen was often made with bread fried in butter, topped with mayonnaise and a generous scattering of North Sea prawns. This version is packed with flavour but, being made with greek yogurt and served on crispbread rather than toast, it has a lighter touch.

prawn skagen
Ali Allen

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Barbecued zesty cod burgers

Although barbecuing wouldn’t be considered a traditional Scandinavian method for cooking cod, there is something irresistible about the fresh, vibrant flavours of lime, coriander and green chilli that sing of summer. The cod burgers can be refrigerated or frozen in advance if need be.

cod burgers
Ali Allen

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Barbecued or grilled prawns with tarragon tartare sauce

Seafood is king during summertime in Scandinavia. People are not inclined to spend hours preparing and cooking elaborate dishes when it’s warm outside; after all, summers are so short in the region and everyone needs to top up their vitamin D. This is a superb dish, one that easily scales up to feed a crowd.

barbecued prawns with tarragon
Ali Allen

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Lax pudding

Lax pudding is essentially a creamy potato gratin given a luxurious twist thanks to smoked salmon. Here, it is taken to another level with the addition of nutty, brown butter. The dill and fresh lemon help balance out the rich flavours. This makes a terrific brunch or lunch dish at a smörgåsbord.

lax pudding
Ali Allen

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Wild strawberry parfait

These epitomise summer and, while they require a little time to prepare, make a fabulous finale for any smörgåsbord. If you’re unable to source wild strawberries, use local, commercially grown varieties or even raspberries.

wild strawberry parfait
Ali Allen

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Cardamom buns with cream and marzipan

Enriched yeast buns (semlor) scented with cardamom are an essential part of Scandinavian baking. These are a crowd pleaser. An almond-rich marzipan – one with a 50 per cent almond content or more – gives the best flavour.

cardamom buns with cream and marzipan
Ali Allen

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Buy the book with 40 per cent off

smorgasbord cookbook

All these tasty Scandinavian recipes are from Smörgåsbord: Deliciously Simple Modern Scandinavian Recipes  by Peter’s Yard with Signe Johansen, published by Kyle Books, price £18.99 (octopusbooks.co.uk). You can order a copy for £11.39 until 12 July at whsmith.co.uk. Enter the code YOUSMORG at the checkout. Book number: 9780857837776. For terms and conditions, go to www.whsmith.co.uk/terms.