West coast salad

Västkustsallad

In the summer, this dish is served at nearly every restaurant and café on the west coast of Sweden. In Smögen, a delightful old fishing village on the Bohuslän coast, the terrace of open-fronted fishmongers’ shops sell hundreds of plates of ready-made west coast salads. It is easy to make and if you can buy some really fresh crab or lobster it makes an absolutely delightful meal.

If you are contemplating a holiday on the west coast be warned that the season is very short. For instance, in July and for the first two weeks of August Smögen is besieged by sailors and hordes of tourists. Outside of the that six week period it is very quiet with many of the restaurants closed. John

Summary

Tips

  • If you ever get the chance to catch some fresh crab on the west coast of Sweden do take it. It is true that my wife gave me a wide birth on the ferry on the way back as I was carrying live crabs, but it was worth it because they were the best crabs I've ever tasted!
  • Londoners should look out for lobster on Borough Market. I like those caught off the Sussex coast. They are reasonably priced and yet expensive enough for me to still feel flash, flush and happy!

  • Swedes argue that hand-shelled prawns taste so much better but quite frankly it is so tedious that I seldom bother!
  • Some people also add 125 g (½ cup) peas or sugar snap peas.
  • I feel guilty about writing it, but I do enjoy west coast salad with some crisp French fries and mayonnaise!

Ingredients

250 g (8 oz) fresh asparagus spears
100 g (4 oz) cooked crab or lobster meat
300 g (¾ lb) cooked prawns (shrimps), preferably shelled by hand
100 g (½ cup) fresh mushrooms
200 g (7 oz) can mussels in brine*
100 g (4 oz) lettuce

*Note that mussels were not used in making this recipe and so are not shown in the photos below because I am allergic to them.

Dressing

50 ml (3½ tbsp) mayonnaise
½ tsp   tomato paste
½   garlic, crushed
½ tbsp   fresh dill, finely chopped
    salt and white pepper to taste

Garnish

½ tbsp   fresh dill, finely chopped
8   cherry tomatoes, halved
4   lemon, cut into wedges
4   lobster or crab claws (optional)
4   sprigs of dill

Method

1. Steam the asparagus for 4 minutes and then refresh under cold water until cool enough to handle. Cut each spear into three, then leave to drain.

2. Cut the crab or lobster meat into bite-sized pieces.

3. Shell the prawns and pat them dry with kitchen paper.


4. Wipe the mushrooms clean and then slice them thinly.

5. Drain the brine from the mussels.


6. Mix together the crab or lobster, prawns, mushrooms, mussels and asparagus spears, taking care to leave the prawns and mussels whole.

7. Mix the dressing ingredients together. Add half the dressing to the fish mixture and mix thoroughly. Add more if necessary. (If you are making this for Swedes you will probably need all the dressing, but Brits tend not to like so much sauce so you may only need half the dressing or you can serve it separately.)


Above: a starter portion

8. Shred the lettuce and spread it out on individual plates. Place the fish mixture on top and garnish with chopped dill, tomatoes, lemon wedges, crab or lobster claws (optional) and dill sprigs.

Downloads

  printer version.pdf

  phone & tablet computer version.pdf

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