Sole with Browned Butter
We’re spending the final three days of our trip in one of my favorite cities, Copenhagen. The first time I came to Copenhagen, I wasn’t coming to explore the city. I was coming to experience Rene Redzepi’s amazing restaurant Noma. It was in the dead of winter. It was cold and dark by two o’clock in the afternoon. Now anyone who knows me can tell you, I love the heat and hate the cold. I didn’t imagine I’d be keen on Copenhagen. In fact, the city was simply a means to an end. But despite the frigid temperatures, Copenhagen was a city full of life. Before I knew it, I was bundling up to bike around and explore the neighborhoods. People were happy and friendly. It was infectious, as if the life around me somehow gave everything warmth and light. Needless to say, I fell in love with Copenhagen. Although, I still recommend people visit in the summer instead of the winter.
It’s already starting to cool off here, but strawberries are still in season and the sun is still shining most of the day.
We took Talya on her first bike ride. She loved it! Copenhagen is one of the best cities to bike around. In fact, 62% of the population use a bicycle to commute. As a result, the entire city has dedicated bicycle lanes and traffic lights. Even a novice like me can feel safe cycling here.
One of the other things I love about Copenhagen, it’s a real foodie town. Even the 7 Eleven here has kouign amann and ancient grain paleo granola bars (seriously). Not that I’m suggesting you spend your time hanging out at 7 Eleven. There are fantastic ice cream shops, like Vaffelbageren, where you can sample local flavors like black licorice or elderflower. They also have an amazing selection of seafood restaurants. My personal favorite is Kodbyens Fiskebar, in the meat packing district. In the summertime, people sit outside in lounge chairs, soaking up the sun and sipping Solaris (a crisp white wine that’s become quite popular in Denmark). The menu at Fiskebar is ever changing. My favorite dish this time was a piece of hake poached in browned butter. It was such a simple dish, and yet, so perfect.
Here is a recipe inspired by the dish at Fiskebar. The key is to use incredibly fresh fish and to not over brown the butter (this could cause it to taste bitter rather than nutty). Hake isn’t as readily available in the US, so I opted for filet of sole, instead.
In Danish there is a concept called hygge (pronounced hoo-guh). I’m told there is no direct translation of this word into English, but basically it means a feeling of well-being, coziness, or, great contentment. This is exactly what I’m feeling at the end of this epic trip.
Petrale Sole with Browned Butter, Meyer Lemons and Capers
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound petrale sole
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoon capers
Juice of half a Meyer lemon, or regular lemon
Half a Meyer, or regular lemon, thinly sliced
Place the butter in a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Cook the butter, stirring occasionally until it becomes fragrant and brown. Remove from the heat immediately.
Pat the fish dry and season with salt. Warm the butter over medium heat and place the fish into the pan. Cook for several minutes. Add the capers and lemon juice and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Flip the fish. Add the sliced lemon and cook a few more minutes, or until the fish is flaky and cooked through. Serve immediately.
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