I am sure that most expats agree with me when I say that one of the best things about going “home” is the food! Don’t get me wrong, South African food is beyond lekker but there is something special about eating the food from your motherland. For me, nothing spells Swedish summer like shrimps fresh off the boat on the west coast. The Northern Prawn, which is its scientific name is caught in the cold waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and boiled in salted water directly on the boat. They are best enjoyed as a simple, and totally delicious, meal with some bread, aioli, lemon and dill. And a glass of white wine of course. Peeling them is half the enjoyment, so just put a bowl of shrimp on the table and let everyone tuck in!
There are also two classic sandwiches where the unassuming shrimp plays the lead role: räkmacka (shrimp sandwich) and toast skagen. The shrimp sandwich is available at every self-respecting cafe; a classic version is on soft, white bread with mayo, boiled egg, dill and lemon. Skagen is a small fishing village on the west coast, and their toast (white bread, fried in plenty of butter – nope, low-gi or low-fat dieters need not bother themselves) is topped with a creamy mix of mayo and sourcream, fishroe, dill and shrimp. It is utterly delicious and often offered as a starter at good restaurants.
Yes, you got it right. Swedes do love their shrimp with white bread, mayo and dill! Sure, you could make it healthier by using rye bread but it is an unbeatable combination, and why fix it if it ain’t broken? It’s really a question of soul before waist here. But there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this summer delicacy. Here’s a recipe for a to-die-for pasta:
Mix 2 egg yolks, 50g finely grated parmesan, 150ml cream, finely grated zest from 1 lemon and juice from 1/2 lemon. Boil fresh pasta (tagliatelle is perfect). Once al dented, pour off the water but save a couple of table spoons; return the pasta to the pot, add the sauce and water and stir until the pasta is evenly covered. Dish in bowls and top with shrimp, steamed asparagus and black caviar. Voila!