“We tend to think of Vikings as ferocious warriors with carnivorous tastes, but the real Viking diet was surprisingly light and nutritious. They ate berries, vegetable soups and barley risottos, and something like this simple roasted salmon with flatbreads might have been just the kind of meal a terrifying Viking might have loved between raiding parties.” Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Scandinavia
2 kg side of salmon, skin on, pin-boned
sea salt flakes, to season
watercress, to serve
150 g (½ cup) mayonnaise
2 tbsp sour cream or crème fraiche
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
60 ml (¼ cup) whitefish or salmon roe
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
300 g (2 cups) plain flour
75 g (½ cup) rye flour
75 g (½ cup) spelt flour
375 ml (1½ cups) buttermilk
1 tsp salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Nail the salmon to a plank of wood with wooden nails, flesh-side facing up. Season well with salt. Place vertically next to a fire at a distance where it becomes uncomfortable to hold your hand after 10 seconds.
Cook for 20-30 minutes, tail-side up, then flip vertically and continue for a further 20-30 minutes until just cooked through.
To make the skagen sauce, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the Viking flatbread, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre. Gradually add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Roll the dough into 5 cm balls, then using your hands, pinch and flatten the balls to about 5 mm thick. Toast the flatbreads in a dry frying pan over high heat or on a hot stone in the fire for about 1-2 minutes each side until golden in parts and cooked through.
Serve the salmon with the skagen sauce, flatbread and watercress.
• You could use a piece of wood, such as cedar or any other wood suitable for smoking food. Soak the wood and the wooden nails in cold water overnight to prevent them burning during cooking.
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