I have never been to Finland and don’t know much about Finnish food, except that it is probably quite similar to other Scandinavian food, which I also know very little about. Actually, when I think about it, the first thing that springs to mind is Jacques Chirac’s 2005 comment about British food, “After Finland, it is the country with the worst food.” Understandably, this comment did not go down well in the UK, but at least we are aware of the stereotype of plain British food, whereas it was probably more of a shock to the Finns. So, I set about researching Finnish food, and came across some wonderful ideas for cooking with reindeer and elk – but possibly not so easy to get hold of here. Luckily, salmon is very popular in Finland and I soon decided to make a salmon soup which I found on Scandi Foodie.
I changed the recipe only slightly. I couldn’t find any celeriac so had to miss it out. I had ground all spice berries, not whole berries. I used vegetable stock instead of water. I could possibly have used fish stock but I didn’t want it to be too fishy, I just wanted to add a little extra flavour. I also used milk instead of cream as I was making this for lunch and tend to avoid cream except for desserts or sauces that really need it. I am ashamed to admit that I did worry slightly that it might be a little plain, with just the all spice berries really for flavouring. In fact, the potato, parsnip and salmon soaked up the flavour of the all spice and were delicious. I don’t often use all spice but it was a flavour I could happily enjoy without needing other herbs or spices. So, it was definitely a success, and a recipe I wouldn’t hesitate to make again. Unlike some soups which are not filling enough for a whole meal, it makes a great one-pot meal, not needing any bread to go with it, although of course you could have some if you wanted.
Ingredients – serves 2
About 5 new potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp ground all spice berries
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 a parsnip, diced
300g piece of salmon
Vegetable stock or water
200ml Milk (or a little cream and a bit more stock)
How to Make Finnish Salmon Soup
1. Add the potatoes, parsnip, onion and all spice to enough hot stock to just cover the vegetables. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
2. Add the milk or cream along with the salmon. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste.