What’s for Supper – Laxpudding or Swedish potato and smoked salmon gratin

Laxpudding is one of the most quintessentially Swedish dishes alongside Jansson’s Temptation and Meat balls with lingonberry jam. It is a cheap everyday dish, despite the use of smoked salmon, of which one does not require very much. The main ingredient is the backbone of Swedish cuisine – potato, combining it here with a savoury custard of milk and egg, and of course dill, the herb which infuses so much of Swedish food and drink. Originally, Laxpudding, which hales from the far north where my mother grew up, was traditionally made using home cured Gravad Lax. Salmon was so commonplace on the Swedish table in the early 1900s that people were bored with it and begged not to be served it every day. The Bothnian Bay and the many rivers in the north were teeming with wild salmon so it was a cheap and common place protein.

Laxpudding has become one of the most popular dishes on our lunch menu in the café and I also think that it makes a perfect, light Friday Night supper served with a salad on the side.


For 2

2 small or 1 large King Edward or similar potatoes, peeled and sliced

150g smoked salmon, torn into smaller pieces 

1 tablespoon of finely chopped dill (I have fallen in love with the frozen herb bags from Waitrose)

3 eggs

300ml milk or combo of milk/cream if you have cream sitting around

Sea salt and black pepper

Set the oven to 180C.

Peel and slice the potatoes.

Using a fork, mix the eggs with the milk/cream

Butter an oven proof dish.

Arrange a layer of potato in the base followed by the salmon and dill.

Season with ground black pepper and some sea salt – not too much as the salmon is salty.

Top with a second layer of potato.

Pour over the eggy mix.

I like to dot a few small pieces of butter on top before placing in the oven.

Bake for approx 45 minutes.

In Sweden, Laxpudding is served with melted butter and rye crisp bread on the side.

When enjoyed as a mid-week lunch or supper the drink of choice would be water or low alcohol beer. My wine recommendation for this salty, umami-redolent and creamy dish would be an equally rich white, say a Chardonnay or a Côte du Rhône Blanc. 

Laxpudding is a must on any table for Easter, Midsummer or Christmas, the three big food events in Sweden, and for which more or less the same dishes are served. We stick to what we like!  The classic drinks accompaniment for the festivities are lager and snaps – the much loved Swedish aquavit. Often flavoured with dill and cumin, and served ice cold in small shot glasses, it is the perfect accompaniment for Sweden’s many salty, cured and pickled dishes.

We tend to get emotional when we eat and drink these iconic dishes, which means we want to sing. The songs accompanying snaps are plentiful and usually rather ribald. The themes are, to put it mildly, somewhat repetitive; the appreciation of snaps, the life enhancing qualities of snaps and a call to focus on where the next snaps is going to come from. The play on words, full of double entendre, is often rather clever – even if it relates mainly to the celebration of inebriaty, its effect on various bodily functions – not all negative – in a fashion that most 5 year olds would love. That’s us Swedes – a basic lot. Skål!

Join me again for a weekend of home bread making

Judging by the disappearance of flour and yeast from the shelves even before the lockdown was announced, I assume that most of you have both these things in your pantry and that you might like a bit of advice on how to make fantastic bread without much effort! I am going to post the first of several blogs on Sour Dough today, so those who wish can create their first starter today. For tomorrow morning, a super simple recipe for little breakfast milk rolls.