We have several traditions that we celebrate the holidays with each year–like trimming the tree and going to my parent’s for Christmas Eve dinner. It just isn’t Christmas for me without several traditional Finnish foods that my Mummu (grandma in Finnish) makes. From turnip casserole (Lanttulaatikko) and her delicious potato casserole with allspice (perunalaatikko), to the must have salt fish sandwiches. They are all important parts to make the holidays just right! Every year I go to my Mummu’s to try to absorb the cooking knowledge she has. Like most home cooks, she doesn’t measure, but uses pinches and dashes as her tools of measurement. A lot of what she adds to her dishes is determined by taste and appearance.
Suolakala (pronounced soo-la-ka-la) is a cured salmon that is sliced thinly and eaten on buttered sour rye bread and sprinkled with green onions. YUM! The suolakala that I love to get here in Thunder Bay, also has fresh dill in it: It is similar to gravlax. It’s very simple to make, and well worth the effort! If you’re looking for something new this holiday, feel free to give it a try and let me know what you think!
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Mummu’s Suolakala Recipe
- One 3.5 -4lb salmon fillet (sushi grade if possible)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 bunches of fresh dill
- Rinse and dry the salmon, making sure all the bones are out. Cut the salmon into 2 pieces.
- Mix the salt and sugar together and cover the fish with the mixture.
- Place one piece skin down in a dish, cover with chopped dill and pepper, and lay the other filet overtop flesh side down. Cover and let sit for 6 hrs at room temp.
- Put another dish on top and weigh down with cans. Refrigerate for at least 2 days but no longer than a week, turning fish over every 12 hrs to ensure all parts are equally marinated. Recover and weight down each time.
- After two days, scrape off dill, and pat dry. If not using sushi grade salmon freeze for up to one week.
- Unthaw and slice into thin pieces, assemble open-faced sandwiches as shown, Enjoy!