Denmark's Fresh, Simple Cuisine

By Joyce Hendley, M.S., "Northern Light," May/June 2008

Discover this country's flavorful, minimalist cuisine.

A Sense of Place

Denmark's culinary traditions owe a lot to its geography. Though centuries ago their Viking ancestors ruled large swaths of the known world, the territory Danes now command is about the size of Switzerland and comprised of a peninsula and many islands. Lying south of Norway, Sweden and Finland and connected to northern Germany by its Jutland peninsula, Denmark is a crossroads between Scandinavia and continental Europe, with culinary roots in both places. And of course, you're never far from the sea.

In Denmark's cold northern waters, omega-3-rich fatty fish like herring and salmon thrive. It's an education just to browse the fish shops, where the selection is always huge and impeccably fresh. Best of all is the herring (sild) section, offering at least six or eight different ways to appreciate the heart-healthy little fish: sweet-sour pickled, smoked, dressed in curry or tomato sauce, or sprinkled with fresh dill and a little sour cream. Or my favorite way: sautéed and steeped in a spicy-sweet vinegar marinade, a technique that works beautifully with most firm-fleshed fish.

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