Immediately after picking him up at the airport, I took my father by Stockholm's best market
in order to find ingredients for our dinner. We ended up purchasing a gorgeous, 4 pound, wild turbot and one of the first Swedish-caught spring mackerels. Picked up some Gotlandish (Gotland being one of Sweden's Baltic islands) asparagus and some of this year's first new potatoes.
I filleted the perfectly fresh mackerel and seasoned the fillets with salt, peppar, lemon zest and dill.
After a few hours' cure, the fillets were hot-smoked with cherry and lump charcoal.
The hot fillets were then placed on a piece of hard rye bread and topped with soft-boiled egg slices, Swedish Västerbottens cheese (aged, cow milk cheese from Northern Sweden with a sharp, nutty flavor), chopped chives and dill, sour cream and salt/peppar. Along with a cold lager, these sandwiches made for an excellent appetizer.
The turbot was slowly baked in a 200 degree F oven for an hour and 20 minutes. The slow baking enhances the gelatinous nature that a wild turbot of this size has. Upon serving (with the boiled potatoes, the blanched asparagus, some new, spring cabbage sauted with pancetta and browned butter poured over freshly grated horseradish), I discovered that the turbot was bursting with roe. While I would never keep a fish I personally caught during its spawning season, the damage was already done for this one. And, despite my ethical concerns, I quickly discovered why turbot roe is considered a delicacy; tasting strongly (but pleasantly) of turbot but with a buttery and delicately grainy texture, it was extravagant.
In fact, with evening temperatures in the mid-60's, the dinner's wonderful ingredients and company, a glass of Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre and the scent of lilacs and honeysuckle heavily in the air, the entire evening was extravagant on many, wonderful levels.