Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine

ISBN 10: 0618109412 / ISBN 13: 9780618109418
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Synopsis: In this long-awaited book, Marcus Samuelsson introduces the simple techniques and exciting combinations that have won him worldwide acclaim and placed Scandinavian cooking at the forefront of the culinary scene. Whether it's a freshly interpreted Swedish classic or a dramatically original creation, each one of the dishes has been flawlessly recreated for the home cook. Every recipe has a masterful touch that makes it strikingly new: the contrasting temperatures of Warm Beef Carpaccio in Mushroom Tea, the pleasing mix of creamy and crunchy textures in Radicchio, Bibb, and Blue Cheese Salad, the cornflake coating on a delightful rendition of Marcus's favorite "junk food," Crispy Potatoes.
In "The Raw and the Cured," Marcus presents the cornerstone dishes of the Scandinavian repertoire, from a traditional Gravlax with Mustard Sauce (which gets just the right balance from a little coffee) to the internationally inspired Pickled Herring Sushi-Style. The clean, precise flavors of this food are reminiscent of Japanese cuisine but draw upon accessible Western ingredients.
Marcus shows how to prepare foolproof dinners for festive occasions: Crispy Duck with Glogg Sauce, Herb-Roasted Rack of Lamb, and Prune-Stuffed Pork Roast. Step by step, offering many suggestions for substitutions and shortcuts, he guides you through the signature dishes that have made Aquavit famous, like Dill-Crusted Arctic Char with Pinot Noir Sauce, Pan-Roasted Venison Chops with Fruit and Berry Chutney, and Fois Gras "Ganache." But you'll also find dozens of homey, comforting dishes that Marcus learned from his grandmother, like Swedish Roast Chicken with Spiced Apple Rice, Chilled Potato-Chive Soup, Blueberry Bread, Corn Mashed Potatoes, ethereal Swedish Meatballs with Quick Pickled Cucumbers, and Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry Whipped Cream.
From simplest-ever snacks like Sweet and Salty Pine Nuts and Barbecued Boneless Ribs, to satisfying sandwiches like Gravlax Club, to vibrant jams and salsas and homemade flavored aquavits, Marcus Samuelsson's best recipes are here. Lavishly photographed, Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine provides all the inspiration and know-how needed for stunning success in the kitchen.

Review: What kind of food would a French-trained Manhattan chef, born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, produce? The unique food of Aquavit, the Scandinavian restaurant whose refined, contemporary cooking Marcus Samuelsson presents in his eponymous debut cookbook. Samulesson's cuisine reflects the Swedish love of seafood, game, and pickled and preserved dishes, enlivened by Indian spices (brought to Sweden in the 17th century), plus other approaches. Thus Aquavit offers reborn Scandinavian favorites like Gravlax with Mustard Sauce and Swedish Roast Chicken with Spiced Apple Rice plus delights like Tandoori-Smoked Salmon with Goat Cheese Parfait, Hot-Smoked Char with Lemon Broth, and Glazed Salmon with Wasabi Sabayon. Though the book includes among its 150-plus recipes fare that's definitely friendly to the home cook--like Barbecued Boneless "Ribs" (made with boneless pork shoulder) and Slow Roasted Turkey Wings--this is fundamentally a chef's collection, and will probably be pored through more readily than cooked from. Nonetheless, for readers interested in the food of singular talent, presented in an oversized format as lovely as the cooking itself, the Aquavit is essential.

Chapters cover the basic menu stops, including soups, salads and sides, plus the likes of Steamed Crab Rolls from "Bites, Snacks and Little Plates"; Blueberry Bread from "Crackers and Breads"; and Lamb Sausage Wrap from "Sandwiches." Chapters on dessert offer such treats as Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry Whipped Cream and Chocolate "Blini"; and a drinks section includes the unusual and very palatable likes of Lemon, Pepper, and Dill Aquavit and Yellow Mary Mix, a yellow-tomato bloody mary descendant. Illustrated with ravishing color photos that reiterate the sleek pleasures of the food, Aquavit is as special as its innovative and very worldly author. --Arthur Boehm

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