When my roommate/landlord/house-sit headed off to the Netherlands, I asked him to bring back some foreign food magazines for my browsing pleasure. Something I wouldn’t normally see, that would challenge and inspire.
He brought me Foodies and La Cucina Italia, whose titles belie their beautiful images, boundless recipes, and bizarre arrangement of letters.
Foodies featured on its cover a piece titled “weekmenu 7x het recept van de dag,” so when we made arrangements for a semi-impromptu Thursday night birthday/35th anniversary dinner party I thought it made sense to cook the recept suggested for donderdag.
All that, I managed with no working knowledge of Dutch and no Dutch dictionary. I suspect most of us could figure out that much, unless at the outset we told ourselves it was impossible.
Deciphering the recipe required a few more resources, nevertheless.
Zalmfilet (zonder huid)
zout en peper[!]
300 ml creme fraiche [bien sur]
Thank goodness for google translate.
While all should be wary of using the tool to communicate with any sense of nuance or import, it does a fine job of defining nouns and simple verbs. All that’s really necessary to understand a recipe.
So I typed in each word of each sentence — verwarm de oven, breng op smaak, rasp de cheddar — and approximately converted each measurement. (Why do Americans continue to insist on using the British imperial system?)
Nothing was exact or sure, but the base ingredients were good and made sense together. The cooking process itself suggested no mysterious magic, so I was optimistic through cocktail hour (housemade horchata soda with Kahlua).
We moved to the table and I served the salmon fillets (with no skin) encased in a shell of egg, creme fraiche, dill, and cheese with a simple salad and crusty, whole grain bread.
A first bite confirmed the Dutch know a thing or two about fish, dill, and dairy products.
How glad I am I set out to learn a little something about which I knew nothing.
Several asked for the recipe after, so I wrote it down and share here as well.