Carrying a basket in the crook of his arm, Pontus Sjoholm heads in the direction of the forest. As if out of a fairy tale, he plucks clover and yarrow as he wanders down the path, before reaching the woods’ moss-covered hills with all types of edible mushrooms.
And with that, the chef at the Asa Herrgard property has everything he needs for a fine meal, prepared over two fired-up grills.
Swedes have made a name for themselves with their desire to cook with everything that nature gives, and in as natural a setting as possible. Sjoholm demonstrates this as he places an iron pot on top of the glowing grill. Inside it, he’s going to roast some perch.
He’s layered juniper twigs on top of each other in the pot and then placed parchment paper on top. He lays the fish fillets on the heap and generously salts them. “But the salt is only on there for 10 minutes, then it gets cleared off,” he explains. The top is set on the pot and the fish is then smoked for about 15 minutes. Before serving, Sjoholm sprinkles the herbs he’s collected over the fillets.
But enough about fish. Sweden, as everyone knows thanks to IKEA, is all about meatballs. Carl Undehn, from the Visit Sweden tourism agency, claims he makes the best. His secret? “Lots of heavy cream.”
Here’s what he does: Put 75 millilitres of heavy cream and 75 millilitres of milk in a bowl with five tablespoons of bread crumbs and let them soak for 10 to 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix 500 grams of ground meat with finely chopped onions and an egg, as well as salt and pepper. Combine the contents of both bowls and then form 2-3-centimetre balls. “Always wet your hands between forming each ball to make sure nothing sticks to your hands,” advises Udehn.
Afterwards, melt a fat piece of butter in a pan and cook the meatballs through. “Smaklig maltid!” says Udehn. Enjoy your meal!