I have ingested so much Omega-3 while in Finland that I’m pretty sure I could swim up a set of rapids now.
Salmon is the cheapest fish you can buy in Oulu. You can buy it from your little spar-like shop around the corner and get some gewoner salmon or go to the Saturday market and get some very fancy pants salmon. The one from the local shop is sold in various forms but the one I get is the 1kg hulk of raw flesh (sorry for that visual vegetarians). It costs about half the price per kilo than salmon does in South Africa and that’s really cheap when you realise that a head of lettuce cost you R32 in Oulu. Yes. R32. You read right. (For non South African readers… I think a head of lettuce normally costs between R5 – R10 in South Africa).
So, back to the 1 kg hulk of raw flesh. It comes with its skin on so you have to take that off before you cook it. Which is easy, You just grab and rip. But obviously I can’t cook a kilo of meat in one go. No wait, that’s not right… I can’t EAT a kilo of meat in one go. No wait, that’s not right either… I SHOULDN’T eat a kilo of meat in one go. So, I skin it and cut it into good-for-cooking sized pieces. Then cover them in plastic, pop them in the freezer and when I need salmon, I just whip out some packs and defrost. Easy peasy.
And now for the best part… cooking salmon!
Cooking salmon in Finland is wonderful because, there’s always more where that came from so you have a lot more fun with experimenting with flavours. It’s not like, “Ah! this is my ONE salmon recipe of the year and if I mess it up, it’s going to be a DISASTER.” No. No. That’s not a problem here with salmon. With a head of lettuce… yes, but not with salmon.
So, without much further ado, here are some of the salmon dishes I’ve had:
This one was from the evening university cafeteria:
Well, that’s not really a fair representation of the cafeteria food. This is the meal you get when you go to the special little restaurant in the cafeteria and pay a bit extra… but hello… definitely worth it.
Generally for lunch I get the 2.60 euro meal which (now that it’s Spring and I don’t need as many carbs to myself warm in -20’C) is a “small” salad from the salad bar. I say “small” because actually it’s pretty humongous and maybe its small for a Scandinavian god, but for me, its just perfect. You get a bed of lettuce and then four toppings. I almost always get smoked salmon. I think because of the novelty value (SALMON in a CAFETERIA!!!!), the fact that I’m slightly addicted to the stuff AND also because it tastes delicious. Three great reasons.
And then something I still find a bit strange, but I’m warming up to the idea slowly… a braai in the snow. The other day we had one and people brought salmon. They were meant to bring the fish that they caught that day when they went ice hole fishing, but it was an unsuccessful trip, so, hello corner shoppie, hello salmon steaks. I, of course, did not complain. So, salmon wrapped in tin foil and cooked on a braai? Hello heaven! Wow. It’s soft. It’s tasty. It’s got subtle fishy flavours that leave you licking your fingers for ANY left overs. Wow. Wow. Wow. have I said wow enough? No? Ok. WOW.
Then, the next two dishes are ones that I made at home for meself. Both are pretty basic. Firstly, tasty pan-fried salmon cooked with garlic in cream sauce with italian tagliatelle.
and then, it was the end of the month. My cupboard and freezer were bare except for some salmon and rice… so I baked the salmon in the oven (with olive oil, salt and pepper), cooked the rice and ate them together. And actually… it was yummy and I didn’t feel so student-end-of-the-month anymore.
So all in all, yay for salmon. I am a fan.