In Norse mythology there is a story about Loki, the god of mischief and strife: In order to escape punishment by the other gods for trying to trick the blind god Hod into killing Baldur, the god of beauty and light, Loki jumped into a river and transformed himself into a salmon. The other gods tried to catch him in a net. As Loki was trying to escape by leaping over the net, Thor grabbed him by the tail. This is why the salmon's tail is tapered today.
The fish with the tapered tail lives an interesting life. Born in fresh water, it migrates to the ocean and returns to fresh water to reproduce. It is said that later in their lives, salmon return to exactly the same spot where they were born. This could be the reason why the salmon tastes so fancy - this interesting lifestyle may have an effect on the flavor of the fish. And if you want your salmon dish to taste even more intense, use smoked salmon instead of fresh.
Salmon has a very distinctive taste. Consequently, the perfect dish requires the perfect ingredients to accompany it so as not to displace its taste. The perfect herb for a delicious salmon dish is dill. Its soft and delicate flavor balances the rather prominent taste of the salmon. Dill is not simply a herb; it is believed by some to have magic power. Roman gladiators are said to have anointed themselves with dill oil before their fights. Superstitious people believe that a bunch of dill hung above the doorway to one's house wards off evil spirits. In England it is said that dill protects from bedevilment, as is revealed in the saying: "Vervain and dill hinder witches from their will."
To give the dish an extravagant touch, add horseradish. There are also some tales about horseradish. It is said that a slice of horseradish put into the wallet, prevents the wallet from ever being empty again. Well, I am not so sure about that, but maybe it is worth a try!
But one thing is sure: salmon, dill, and horseradish - these three ingredients are going to work their magic on your guests! And I have noticed that even people who were not enthusiastic about salmon really loved this dish.
In case you are wondering how a salmon dish found its way into the Austrian cuisine section, don't worry: Austria has not conquered any of its neighboring countries. It is still in the heart of the European continent and saltwater fish still live far away. The only reason for the "poor" salmon finding itself on this page is me loving its taste! I've tried out various recipes with salmon and here is my favorite one:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 250g salmon, smoked or fresh, chopped
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine
- 1 cup (250 ml) cream
- 1 tbsp. crème frêche
- 1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tsp. horseradish, freshly grated
- a pinch of black pepper, freshly ground
- a pinch of salt
- 9 oz (250g) spaghetti
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently sauté the onion for about two minutes until glassy.
- Put the salmon into the pan and cook for another three minutes.
- Add the white wine, but be careful! Too much wine causes a distinctly winey taste.
- Wait for about one minute, then add the cream; dissolve the crème frêche and stir in the horseradish.
- Let the sauce simmer until it thickens and absorbs the characteristic taste of the salmon. Add the dill last and season with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and salt. Be very careful with the salt when using smoked salmon as it already contains a significant amount of salt.
- Put the spaghetti on two serving plates and add the sauce. Garnish the plate with a slice of lemon and some dill leaves. Serve immediately and offer white wine with the dish.
Enjoy your meal!