Recipe: Spice-Crusted Salmon with Aquavit Sour Cream

The spices that are used in this salmon dish may lead you to think that this is a Middle Eastern recipe. All the spices, however, are also ingredients in the traditional Scandinavian aquavit – the potato-based liquor. Serves 2.

1 pound (½ kg) salmon fillet, skin on, any pin bones removed
2 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. dill seeds
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup (½ dl) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (½ dl) sour cream
1 Tbsp. aquavit
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chervil
2 tsp. white wine vinegar, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C

Rinse the fish under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. In a small skillet, toast the coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel seeds over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until they start to release their fragrance. Transfer to a small bowl, add the salt, and mix well. Rub the fish with the spice mixture and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. To prepare the aquavit sour cream, in a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, aquavit, caraway seeds, and chervil. Add vinegar to taste. Cover and refrigerate.

Place the baking dish with the fish on the middle oven rack and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish flakes nicely with a fork. Serve the fish topped with the sour cream and accompanied by the fennel.

Note: If you cannot find aquavit, season the sour cream with 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon ground dill seeds, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon brandy.

Recipe from Andreas Viestad, NEW SCANDINAVIAN COOKING

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