Monday, 14 June 2010

The Unofficial World Cup of Food 2010 - Denmark

It has not been easy for me to establish any real ancestral connection with any of the countries involved in the FIFA World Cup 2010 to an extent which truly justifies my representing them in this event. Although I am of course aware that no such justification is necessary and I will maybe dabble as a guest here and there as the tournament progresses, I wanted to represent one country with which I can at least appear to establish some form of tentative bond.

In common with most of the other inhabitants of the UK, my heritage will of course be mixed with particularly the Normans and the Saxons of Mainland Western Europe at some stage in the distant past. The most obvious connection which I can claim to a country participating in the FIFA World Cup 2010, however, is that my maternal grandmother's family name was Haldane. There is much debate as to the origins of the name Haldane in Scotland, with some advancing the theory that it was of Norman introduction in the 12th Century, as opposed to earlier Danish introduction. At least for the purposes of this event, however, I am coming down firmly on the side of the more obvious Danish theory and taking the opportunity to guest today as a cook for the country of Denmark.

When most people in the English speaking world hear the words, "Danish," and, "Food," it is probably safe to say that a great many will immediately think of sweet pastries or bacon. There is naturally, however, a great deal more to Danish food than pastries or bacon, as I have found in researching this article. The climate and geography of Denmark means that hardy grains and vegetables form a large part of the Danish diet, as does fresh fish. I had several ideas pencilled in for this project but as soon as I came across Bagte Fiskefilet, I knew beyond doubt what I was cooking.

Bagte Fiskefilet translates at least loosely in to English as, "Baked Fillet of Sole." The fillets are baked in the oven with butter, before being served with a sauce made of butter, lemon juice and prawns/shrimp. I have taken the liberty of using an unfilleted lemon sole here - purely for greater substance in the presented dish - and adding a little parsley to the sauce for colour.

Ingredients (Per Person)

1 lemon sole (gutted - head and tail removed)
2oz butter
2 tsp of roughly chopped prawns/shrimp (pre-cooked)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp freshly chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


I have served this dish with some boiled new potatoes in butter. If you choose to do likewise, the first step will be to get your potatoes on to boil.

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6. Spread a large sheet of aluminium foil on a baking tray and place the lemon sole on it, dark-skinned side uppermost. Make three diagonal cuts across the top of the fish. Use 1 oz of the butter to place a little in each slit and the remainder in the cavity of the fish. Season lightly with salt and pepper and carefully wrap up the fish to form a sealed but loose package. Place it in to the oven and cook for fifteen minutes.

As the sauce takes less than a minute to prepare, wait until the fish is ready and remove it from the oven. Put the butter and lemon juice in to a small saucepan and on to as low a heat as possible while you carefully unwrap the fish - due to escaping steam - and transfer it to the plate. When the butter is almost melted, add the parsley and shrimp/prawns and season with black pepper only. Stir with a wooden spoon to simply heat the shellfish through before carefully spooning the sauce over the fish and serving.

This dish was incredibly easy to make and being such a lover of fresh fish as I am, I was in no doubt that I would enjoy it but I can honestly say that it was even more delicious than I had anticipated and I very much hope you will try it out for yourself at home.

(Note that serving it with Denmark's most famous liquid export is wholly optional!)


  1. just can't beat a perfectly cooked piece of fresh fish! That looks fabulous!

  2. Its strange to think that the "Best Restaurant" in the World currently resides in Denmark as researching their cuisine failed to yield many interesting recipes. I did enjoy both the name and flavor profile of the Burning Love dish we decided to fuse with a Dutch Stamppot, though.