Scandinavian Salmon Rub Recipe
Although my mom and dad are both half-Danish, growing up in my family was not a immersive Scandinavian experience. However, I do remember my family’s annual Danish Christmas rituals. This included weaving those red and white paper hearts, rolling kransekage cookies, and preparing lefse (a potato flatbread filled with a decadent butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture).
I also remember hearing stories about my Danish great-grandmother on my mom’s side, who lived to be 107. My mom would always describe her grandma with admiration for this tenacious, independent woman who worked tirelessly on own her farm in Denmark while raising her family. Even though my Great Grandma Elsie passed when I was very young, I grew up with reverence for her, and a sense that she is a powerful heroine in my lineage.
Recently, I felt inspired to connect more deeply with my Scandinavian roots on a whim, I perused into the Scandinavian store that is near my home. Along with some frozen ligonberries, a pint of pickled herring, some table linens, I picked up a stunning cookbook called Kitchen of Light: The New Scandinavian Cooking by Andreas Viestad. The first recipe I tried was a Spice Crusted Salmon, from which this salmon recipe is heavily inspired.
With delight, I realized that most savory Danish dishes fit into my grain-free diet with little or no modification, especially now that I have been able to re-introduce specific types of dairy into my diet. (Only the Danish pastries will require some significant tweaking.)
Danish food relies heavily on seafood, especially cold-water oily fish. Other stapes include root vegetables (lots of beets!), cabbage, cultured dairy, and meats.
I look forward to my continued adventures in grain-free Danish cooking and sharing more recipes with you along the way!
A note on sourcing spices: I encourage you to always get organic herbs/spices, since conventional options are often irradiated to prolong shelf life. I believe the irradiation can compromise the integrity of the botanicals.
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 2 tsp. dill seeds (available here)
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt or ½ tsp. finely ground salt
- A mortar and pestle or coffee grinder/spice grinder
- Place the spices in a sauté pan and toast them over medium heat until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes. Toasting activates and heightens the flavor of the spices.
- Place the toasted spices, along with the salt, in a mortar and pestle and work until coarsely ground. Alternatively, use a spice grinder or (clean) coffee grinder, which will create a spice rub with a fine texture.
- Generously pat onto both sides of a salmon fillet and sauté, bake or broil as desired.
- The rub is best the week it is prepared, however it keeps well in the pantry. Store the ground spice mixture in an airtight container.