A Scandi Midsummer Feast

North Sea Prawn

Prawns, Lemon & Norwegian Mayo (from a tube no less)

Prawn Skagen Crisps on Peter's Yard ace sourdough crispbread

Wye Valley Strawberries & Rodda's Cornish Clotted Cream

Midsummer is traditionally marked across all the Scandinavian countries with celebrations, festivals and even bonfires – in some countries the festivities go on for the entire week of summer solstice, in others you’ll find the feasting restricted to the 21st or 23rd of June.

Flowers are picked, good food is shared and there is a steady trickle of booze to lubricate everyone well into the morning. Songs are sung and as long as the weather holds, much of the midsummer celebrations take place outdoors. Because it’s light virtually 24 hours at this time of year you don’t sleep much – something I relished as a child, using the excuse of midsummer insomnia to read all my favourite comic books late into the night, not to mention the excuse to snack on strawberries from my grandparents’ strawberry patch on their farm.

As mentioned, food is a big part of midsummer festivities and a quintessential Scandi midsummer feast might feature freshly caught fish, homemade meatballs or fat bowls overflowing with delicious, sweet North Sea prawns, like the ones you see here. You can also use these tasty aquatic critters to make sexy little canapes as I did recently for a book signing at my local design and gift shop Something – simply butter some Peter’s Yard sourdough crispbread, then gently dollop on some mayonnaise, top with a couple of peeled prawns and add a spritz of lemon juice. Finally garnish with some lumpfish or salmon roe, and a thimblefull of fresh dill. The best fast food in the world, bar none.

Those who know me will tell you I have a particular penchant for these sweet North Sea prawns, preferring them to their beefy Pacific cousins which I find quite bland and flavourless. So when my dad brought a box o’ real prawns back from Bergen recently (they’re expensive and hard to source in the UK) we sat down en famille and peeled dozens of prawns, making sure not to throw away the umami-rich roe, and ate them on white baguette bread with mayo, lemon and thin slices of cucumber. A glass of Schloss Vollrads Riesling – I forget the year, frankly I was too absorbed in quaffing the wine – married perfectly with this simple Midsummer supper.

And solstice celebrations wouldn’t be the same without a plate of crimson strawberries sprinkled with a tiny bit of sugar and cushioned with a cloud of Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream. This may not be strictly Scandinavian (and the strawberries were from the Wye Valley so it’s an all-Brit dessert!) but the coupling of strawberries n’ cream is as traditional in Scandiland as it is over here. But I will admit that Cornish clotted cream knocks the socks off plain old double cream any day.

So there you have it, a Scandi midsummer feast. Simple, elegant and delicious. What midsummer treats do you have in store for this week I wonder?

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11 Responses to A Scandi Midsummer Feast

  1. goodshoeday says:

    Sounds fab, I really must get you to try some of the smoked prawns from Suffolk, same lovely sweetness with the added complexity of the smoke. Totally yum.

  2. Meeta says:

    Staying up all night was Soeren’s excuse last year when we were in Norway. He kept saying that if the sun does not sleep how can he! We were hoping to get to Stockholm this week to be a part of the festivities but we’ve had to postpone the trip. Now I wish we had not! I’ve always wanted to be a part of these Midsummer Feast – thanks to you I can be at least virtually!

  3. Lynne says:

    I hope you kept all those lovely shells to make a stock for risotto?

    Shell-on prawns are wonderful, I think you can get that at most fishmongers. Are they very different to the Bergen ones you had?

    • Signe says:

      The ones we get in Bergen are hard to source here, and when you do they’re really expensive but shall keep looking. The shells make great stock so naturally we kept them and boiled them for later use :)

  4. Midsummer is such a special celebration! I am planning to make a little treat for us here in Sydney, although instead of midsummer we are of course in the midst of winter!

    • Signe says:

      Maria that must be quite surreal! Agree midsummer is a wonderful celebration across all the Scandinavian countries, such a fun time of the year x

  5. Shayma says:

    Lovely meal- must be so much fun to have this food with your friends and loved ones. I wonder if n sea prawns are like british columbia spot prawns, also sweet- in fact, i liken them to lobster meat. X shayma

    • Signe says:

      Shayma I suspect they might be similar to lobster meat, these ones we get from Norway are really sweet and delicate. It’s great food for sharing with friends – simple fuss-free dinners :) x

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