In these days of light New Nordic cooking, Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen decides to go back to basics.
By Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen
Every week a box of organic vegetables pops up outside our front door. Just like it does in many other middle class families with a healthy conscience but little time to scurry around the farmers’ markets on the edge of town. Actually, there is no need for me to be condescending. The organic delivery box is a great idea, and especially rewarding for someone like me who can’t see the forest for pigs and often needs a helping hand when it comes to cooking greens.
This week, to my surprise, a beautiful curly head of savoy cabbage was the first thing I encountered upon opening the box. And immediately it sent my mind racing back 25 years to the dinner table at my parents’ house and a stablemate of old-school Nordic cuisine: stuffed cabbage leaves with pork.
We knew them as kåldolmere – an amalgamation of the Nordic words for cabbage and mideteranean dolmas – and my dad inveraibly used both savoy and white cabbage to wrap the meat in. It was part of a proud tradition of rustic, hearty Danish dishes that don’t hog much spotlight in these days of new Nordic cuisine and minimalist tendencies. (And as Nancy Lopez McHugh shows elsehwere on this blog, it is a template which transcends food borders.)
Anyhow, nothing can heal a hungry heart like a bit of childhood nostalgia so pork and cabbage it was. However, since we are in early days of summer I wanted to tweak this wintery dish so it seemed slightly more apt for the season. My kitchen larder came up with the solution; there I found anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes, so this take on kåldolmere has a decidedly Italian twist.
To be fair, you could mix and match your ingredients however you see fit (I forgot to add chopped lemon peel which I’m sure would have been ace). The casing of soft cabbage leaves is also very accomodating for both lamb and vegetarian fillings.Print
Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen lives in Copenhagen where he writes about food and football for the Guardian newspaper. Prior to that he spent 10 years in London where he studied journalism, worked on the Guardian’s newsdesk and enjoyed a passionate love affair with British food culture (stop sniggering at the back) and the pub.