EatDrinkJax.com talking Swedish cooking with Chef Karin Asmus-Herke of The Swedish Bistro Food Truck.
Veggie Burger with Beet Slaw
8. Karin's family restaurant features a famous smorgasbord. What is a smorgasbord?
It's a Swedish buffet with a big variety of food, including lots of meats, cold cuts and fish. Fish options include things like cured fish, herring, smoked fish, and shellfish. In Sweden, herring is very popular. We won't have a smorgasbord on the truck of course. And we won't have some of the traditional Swedish fish like herring. It's an acquired taste that's very popular in Sweden and is eaten with a variety of different sauces.
9. What will your menu be like?
We're going to focus on serving a smaller menu of 6-8 items so that we can prepare things faster. Lunch needs to be quick serve. We're starting with some classic dishes and we'll see what people like and what's popular. From there we'll probably change the menu a little, but always with the idea of keeping it relatively small.
10. What's a Swedish meatball and how is it different from an Italian meatball?
Swedish meatballs are probably the most popular dish in Sweden. Most people grow up as kids eating them. They're different from Italian meatballs in a few ways. Italian meatballs use Italian spices such as oregano and basil and are served in a tomato sauce. Swedish meatballs are served with a cream sauce, lingonberries, pickled cucumbers and mashed or cooked potatoes.
Swedish Meatballs with mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumbers
11. Is your meatball recipe typical of a Swedish meatball or is it more unique to your family restaurant?
Every restaurant in Sweden will have its own way of making a meatball. The key ingredients of cream sauce, lingonberries, pickled cucumbers and mashed potatoes will be common, but certain things will be unique. For example, most Swedish meatballs are made using bread crumbs. Our recipe uses potatoes in the meatballs, instead of bread crumbs, so the meatballs are gluten free. For people who may have tried the Swedish meatballs at Ikea, ours are not like those - they're much better tasting!
12. What's a Viking Dog?
Karin: It's a very popular late night dish in Sweden that people have after coming home from the bars or being out late. We'll start with a tortilla, which is slightly different than in Sweden where they use thin Swedish bread. We can't find such Swedish bread here so that's why we're using the tortilla. In the tortilla we put mashed potatoes, a beef frankfurter, and shrimp salad. Then we wrap it together like a burrito, but with an opening on the end for the frankfurter. It's very different.
Viking Dog with mashed potatoes, beef frank, and shrimp salad in a tortilla
13. What's a Swedish Bistro Burger?
It's a meatball patty, served on a bun with beet slaw, lettuce, red onion, pickled cucumbers and tomatoes.
14. Can you tell us about your Shrimp Wrap?
It's a cold dish in a tortilla, made with shrimp salad, red onion, tomatoes and lettuce.
15. What's Gravlax?
It's one of the most popular fish dishes in Sweden. It's cured salmon served with a honey-mustard dill sauce. It's mainly served cold. We'll call it a Salmon Wrap on our menu but for those familiar with Swedish cooking it's the popular Gravlax.
16. Can you tell us about your Stroganoff?
It's a dish made with diced franks in a tomato cream sauce and served with mashed potatoes.