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Recipe: Magnus Nilsson's carefully boiled trout, bog butter and porridge of lichens prepared in lye

05 November 2020
Recipe: Magnus Nilsson's carefully boiled trout, bog butter and porridge of lichens prepared in lye

The dish ended up doing exactly what I had hoped. To add complexity and reinforce the aroma of the butter, and the feeling of the forest, we ended up seasoning the fish with more of those same plants. Visual representation really does help our other senses to perceive things: if you see a strand of moss, you can smell it and taste it more strongly.

Serves 6

Bog butter

  • 10g wood sorrel
  • 10g fireweed
  • 10g pine needles
  • 10g blueberry leaves
  • 10g clover
  • 10g thistle
  • 200g good butter, at room temperature

Porridge of lichens

  • 5kg water
  • 25g pickling lime
  • 100g dried reindeer moss
  • 100g Icelandic moss

Whey béchamel

  • 20g butter
  • 18g flour
  • 300g cream
  • 100g whey from cultured milk

Trout

  • 1kg butter
  • 3 x trout fillets (approximately 150g), from a 2kg trout

Garnishes

  • Neutral cooking oil, for frying
  • 25g fried Icelandic moss
  • 25g fried reindeer moss
  • 6 green juniper berries
  • 10g wood sorrel
  • 10g moss
  • 6 leaves red fireweed
  • 5g pine needles
  • 10g Herb salt

Herb salt

  • 100g unwashed herbs, leaves only, picked on dry and sunny day (eg, lovage, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, sage, chives, tarragon, mint, fennel, currant leaves, garlic leaves)
  • 100g very good-quality sea salt, chilled

Briefly process the herbs in a food processor, making sure that they do not heat up, as this causes them to lose their aroma.

Combine the herbs with the salt and pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any unwanted plant fibres.

Transfer the mixture to a vacuum-packed bag and freeze until needed or store in an airtight jar, depending on the result that you want.

For the bog butter

Chop all the leaves and herbs very finely, then mix into the butter. Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 4mm, then remove the paper and cut into 3.5cm-diameter discs. Replace the top layer of paper, place the butter in a sealed plastic box and store in the freezer.

For the porridge of lichens

Combine the water, pickling lime and lichens. Leave for 24 hours in the fridge before draining the liquid away, thoroughly rinsing the lichens and transferring them to a bowl of fresh water. Again leave them for 24 hours in the fridge.

Dry the lichens using a salad spinner, then boil them in water until soft and tender. Reserve a small amount of each to be placed in the drying room to dry for the fried moss.

For the whey béchamel

Place the butter into a sauté pan, followed by the flour, and cook the mixture until it is blonde in colour. Add the cream and whey gradually, until a thick béchamel is formed, simmer for a few minutes and finish by adding the cooked lichens and stirring them in.

For the garnishes

Half-fill a sauté pan with neutral cooking oil and heat the oil to 190°C. Add the lichens that have been drying in the drying room and fry until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and drain them on paper towels.

For the trout

Place the butter into a large sauté pan over a medium heat and heat until the butter reaches 60°C and then keep it there. Place the trout in the butter skin side down and poach until warmed through. Remove the fillets from the butter, place them onto a cutting board, still skin side down, and cut into two portions. Flip the fish and pull the skin off before plating.

To finish

Place a large teaspoon of the lichen béchamel on each hot plate and place one portion of the trout on top. Arrange the garnishes on top of the trout. Just before serving, place a disc of the bog butter onto each hot plate.

Photography by Eric Olsson

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