Ingredients: crawfish, shrimp, red onion, scallion, wasabi-flavored vegetarian caviar, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, black pepper.
Served with: potato, avocado, cucumber, red bell pepper, iceberg lettuce, dill, lemon slices.
I was very fortunate this week to be offered leftovers from a kräftskiva (crawfish boil – a summertime tradition in Sweden). Many thanks to my friends Kenth and Lena for bringing me some of the biggest crawfish I’ve ever seen. They were caught in a stream near Lena’s parents’ farm, then boiled in salted water with beer and dill. I enjoyed a few as-is, but I wanted to make something special with the rest.
Skagenröra is one of my favorite Swedish delicacies. [Although it is named after a Danish beach, I believe the dish was first created in Sweden.] It’s a creamy seafood salad featuring shrimp and caviar, often supplemented (sadly) with imitation crab. I hardly ever buy it in the supermarket for that reason. Ironically, then, I decided to try vegetarian caviar for this experiment. It’s made with seaweed extract, and thus has a fairly authentic oceany taste. It also provides the unique popping texture of caviar. Skagenröra typically includes a kick of chili sauce, so as a further experiment, I got the wasabi-flavored caviar. In the end, it was too subtle to matter.
I started by blending together mayonnaise and crème fraîche, then thinning with a bit of lemon juice. Since I had the lemon in hand, I scraped some zest into the mix as well. To this I added finely diced red onion and scallion, plus the caviar, then set the bowl aside to let the onion flavors permeate while I shelled the crawfish. When that messy time-consuming procedure was finished and the kitchen was clean, I gently folded the crawfish and a small package of bay shrimp into the dressing. The skagenröra was complete! And it tasted great. The fresh crawfish claws and tails were delicious, the shrimp were non-textural but adequate in flavor, and the dressing was perky and smooth. A Swede might question the omission of fresh dill, but I could taste it in the crawfish (which had been boiled with dill).
I prepared a nice plate of veggies for my salad, including iceberg lettuce, red bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, and cold boiled potato. I should have also boiled an egg or two, for authenticity’s sake, but it was plenty of food. All the flavors worked really well together, and it even managed to feel healthy!