We eat a lot of meat in our house and almost never fish. It’s a shame, because I love fish. But the problem with living on the east coast of Sweden is that unless you want pre-packed frozen fillets, herring or farmed salmon, it’s difficult to get good, really fresh and affordable fish.
But sometimes you just crack; you can’t take any more; you think to hell with what it costs; you go out and you buy some fish. I did just that yesterday. Rather like fishing for live ones, you have to pick the right spot. The plaice in my local supermarket usually looks like it’s been run over (and before you say it, not just because they’re flat).The best bet is one of the three food halls in Stockholm. I chose Hav (sea) in Hörtorgshallen food hall, because I know them and it’s close to work.
You don’t really need to know that information. It’s boring. What you need to know is what I bought. I can tell you that I bought what I was told to buy. That’s my golden rule with fish: let the person selling it recommend what’s freshest and best right now. It never fails. I told him I wanted a fish that I could grill, that takes Asian flavours (it’s what I was craving) and that isn’t tuna (why buy fish from halfway around the world when some of the best is caught on the other side of Sweden). The verdict: halibut; a big slab of creamy white, firm textured, alarmingly expensive, über-fresh halibut.
I was hoping he would say turbot, but he didn’t, so halibut it was. I think I might change my golden rule. But he was right, the man at Hav, it was in perfect condition; unlike the contents of my fridge. As usual I had spent a week’s wages on something to eat, without really thinking of what to go with it. The fridge yielded little towards fulfilling my Asian-flavor craving, but I managed a sort of Swedish-Asian mish-mash that worked amazingly well.
There was white cabbage, new potatoes, fennel, one Granny Smith apple, some coriander and mint, a tub of crème fraiche, two limes, fresh chili from my mother-in-law’s greenhouse (go Kate!) and a jar each of chili paste and lime pickle. Sorted!
I made a salad with the cabbage, fennel, apple and crème fraiche (so far so non-Asian), coated the potatoes in lime picke and chili paste and put them in the oven to roast (we’re getting there) and made a marinade for the fish from lime juice, coriander, mint and fresh chili (kerrching, full on Asian achievement).
Together it was surprisingly delicious. But the star of the show was, without question, the halibut. We don’t have fish very often here, in our east-coast world, but when we do, it’s worth the wait. Maybe we should move to the west coast…..