Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Hej, Sverige! I was in another Sveedish craze (again) after watching so many Bergman films lately. Fanny och Alexander, anyone? Anyway. I was really in a Swedish mood, so I roamed around the city looking for some Swedish foodstuff. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any. It wasn't until the following week when I had to go to IKEA at Rhodes (to stock up on some special Sveedish light bulbs for my special Sveedish IKEA lamps) that I dropped by the food section and bought some Sprat fillets. I've never tried Sprats before (FYI, Sprat is a type of fish), and I'm always curious of exotic canned seafood, so I grabbed a can. These Sprat fillets are some kind of anchovies, hence it is also known as Swedish anchovies.
Taste-wise, the Swedish anchovies are nowhere as salty as normal anchovies. Now in my understanding, normal anchovies are 'cooked' by being preserved in heavily-salted brine or oil, hence the texture appears to be 'cooked'. However, Swedish anchovies has significantly lower salt content, so it appears to be raw. (I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, BTW).
I wasn't really pleased when I opened the can and tasted some of the Sprat fillets. It doesn't taste bad, but it's absolutely unfamiliar to my palate. I later discovered that Sprat fillets are marinated in mixture of sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and sandalwood. Hence the peculiar taste. I decided that I won't be able to eat this stuff by itself, and tried to find recipes that use these Sprat fillets. That's when I found the recipe for Fågelbo.
'Fågelbo' literally means 'bird's nest', and judging by its appearance, it isn't hard to figure out why it is named that way. It's served as hors d'oeuvre, as a part of a smorgasbord, or as a snack to accompany beer-drinking. The main part of the dish is the raw egg yolk, and this is followed by rings of Sprat fillets, minced onion, capers, pickled beets, and minced parsley. After served, this neat arrangement (that took a grueling 10 minutes to assemble - I wonder how those nice restaurants manage to assemble complicated dishes in practically no time) will then be mixed and tossed - the idea being that the egg yolk binds all the ingredients together.
The resulting taste is quite pleasant - the strong taste of the Sprat fillets are subdued quite nicely by the other ingredients - especially the parsley. However, the dish is still a strong-flavored concoction, so I totally see why this dish is best served as a snack accompanying a tall, frosty glass of beer.
P.S: I know I planned to cook Adobo after attempting the Beef Rendang, but I guess Adobo will have to wait until my Swedish fever subsides...