February is always a fun month for me, my birthday is in February, as is my wife's. There is also Valentines day and President's Day and Groundhogs Day and the Eelpout Festival. If your not from Minnesota you may not know what the last one is, but if you look it up you may find yourself drawn to Northern Minnesota in the Middle of February to freeze your ass off while fishing for what might be the ugliest fish on earth. I did not get to attend the Eelpout festival this year but had plenty of other occasions to celebrate. I had a few friends over for my birthday and prepared a small feast and instructed all to bring their favorite bottle of Scotch. I ended up with 10 bottles of scotch and tried to sample them all but didn't quite make it through all of them.
I prepared several dishes including a board of homemade charcuterie that included a wild boar coppa di testa, wild boar lonzino and duck prosciutto. Everybody seemed to enjoy it and even ate all the coppa without any complaints. The highlight for me was the lonzino, which was a wild boar loin dry cured with clove, garlic and thyme, paired with a pickled cherry, the combination was fantastic.
My duck neck sausage was a big hit as well. I skinned a couple of neck necks and stuffed them with the meat from the neck along with the hearts, gizzards and livers along with some herbs and spices and then deep fried the whole thing and served it with bread and an onion and maple conserve. The skin on the outside was crisp and delicious while the inside was earthy and beautiful. I was really very pleased with how it turned out.
As a special treat I seared some Foie Gras and serve it with frisee and a vanilla scented pickled cherry vinegarette. The sweet tart combination of the cherries and the sharpness of the vinegar balanced out the Foie Gras almost perfectly. This was probably my favorite dish of the evening.
For the main course of the evening I made a roast leg of venison, after all we had eaten up to this point I am happy this roast was only six pounds. 11 of us picked it clean and enjoyed every bit of it. For the most part my birthday was a success right up to the point when I passed out at 10:30, the rest of the guys still partied until 3 in the morning. Many beers and several glasses of scotch was more than I could handle.
Many of my relatives and friends have a birthday in February also, but one was more important than the others. My Great Aunt Ruth turned 100, and like the great Swede she is, she celebrated with Swedish meatballs, pickled herring and a shot of Glugg. Ruth and her sister Marge used to come to my grandparents cabin in the summer and would pay me $5 to go out and catch a stringer full of perch and bluegills so they cold have shore lunch. I was 8 and getting paid to fish. I wish someone would pay me to fish now.
So in honor of my great aunt Ruth Victoria Carlson I made some swedish fish balls with a curry cream and rice. I had some pan fish left in the freezer from last summer and mixed them in the food processor with some parsley, dill, onion, eggs, bread crumbs and lemon juice. These are really simple to make and are a lot of fun to eat, my two year old just loved them. They were nice and crunchy on the outside and bursting with the flavors of the fish and fresh herbs. My only Regret is that I didn't have any left over to take to Auntie Ruth.
Fishballs in curry cream sauce (Fiskbullar i sas)
1 lbs fish fillets
1/2 cup bread crumbs plus one cup fir breading
1/2 a bunch of parsley
1/2 bunch of dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pulse the ingredients in a food processor until well mixed and form into balls and roll in addition breadcrumbs. Fry the balls in oil until golden brown about 5-7 minutes. test 1 and adjust flavor to taste.
for the cream sauce just simmer a cup of cream and 4 tablespoons of butter and add 2 teaspoons curry powder and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice