Katrin Björk is a food photographer of distinguished talent. This first cookbook from her displays that talent one page, one recipe, after another. Katrin grew up in Iceland, moved to Denmark where she married, and now lives in the Hudson Valley.

I think the Hudson Valley is a long way from Iceland. From the North is her expression of “a simple and modern approach to authentic Nordic cooking.” In short, this is very much the food Katrin grew up on. Either exactly or in the very explicit style of the far North. And far from the Hudson River.

This is home food. Comfort food. You will find it distinctive. You will find it inventive. You will not find it hard to make and that ease will bring a smile to your face. These are not restaurant recipes. These are those “basic” style recipes that give you a grand home meal with just a handful of ingredients but employed cultured elegance in combining those ingredients. Consider this Monkfish with Beet Dressing:

That red beet dressing is made with onion, chili pepper, honey and skyr [Icelandic yogurt but with a milder flavor]. The salad on top is cucumber, radish, onion, and parsley. It’s exactly the dish you can make in the summer with your home garden sloping down to the shore where you row your boat out and do a little fishing.

Chapters here cover:

  • From the Sea
  • From the Heath: Meat, Game and Fowl
  • From the Garden
  • From the Past: Cured and Smoked Delicacies
  • From the Oven: Sourdough and Loaves
  • From the Heart: Sweet Treats and Desserts

There is simple Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic and Marinade. A Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Walnuts and Pomegranates. Fresh Potato Salad with Apples and Sprouts. And Rhubarb Syrup.

Katrin grew up with smoked foods, so that From the Past chapter is one you don’t want to miss:

Cured Trout with Beet and Birch

Gravlax with Mustard Sauce

Cured Goose Breast

Smoked Butter [yes, yes, seriously yes]

Smokey Skyr [yogurt!]

Smoked Red Currants

How do you smoke butter? Not a problem. You need a Dutch oven and a rack or just some aluminum foil. How do you use it? Rub it on your whole chicken before you roast it.

This is a lovely, surprising book. You might not ever travel to Iceland, but you can enjoy its most comfortable cuisine. From the North is lovely. I look forward to Katrin’s next volume.