Hot and Cold in Gilleleje

My youngest and Holly the dog enjoy the local  frikadeller (warm fishcakes)
My youngest and Holly the dog enjoy the local frikadeller (warm fishcakes)

We have been so sick and run-down here in Denmark. The weather has been hurling its worst at us just when us and all the other living creatures have made it this far through the harsh, long winter! The sun shone today though, and so we bundled ourselves into the car and headed for the small fishing port of Gilleleje, on the north coast of Zealand.

It worked its ozone magic, but after an hour only Holly dog and I continued to face the elements. The rest of the family sneaked-off for hot chocolate in a cosy cafe. We two strode-on into the brisk arctic breeze, meeting several old couples on the way and forcing them to reveal the shadow of a smile or common courtesy. Miserable old buggers, it’s not the Danish way to be friendly if you meet on a frozen footpath in the middle of nowhere. Much easier to pretend that the other person isn’t there and look through them. I hate this, so now I have become a vigilante smiler after years of having the cold Nordic shoulder. They get really panicky sometimes, other times it’s such a treat and they just didn’t want to be the first one. After a low score this time I shrugged, Holly crapped in the middle of the path and we moved-on to the vision of the pretty little town in the next curve of the bay.

Gilleleje (pronounced Gilaleyea) is a great little fishing town. Close to Copenhagen, but remaining very much itself due to the large fishing fleet. Fancy Copenhageners try to buy-up the old cottages, but the tight-knit fishing community generally freeze them out after a few summers. We headed to the heart of the town, the harbour.

I rendezvoused with the rest of our frozen family and offered them warm fish frikadeller and a great big dollop of remoulade sauce from one of the booming fishshops. We sat on a bench and devoured the hot goodies, then dashed to the car and home.

Two very quick and easy recipes to be made in a food processor. If you live in Scandinavia, then you can easily buy good quality remoulade sauce from supermarkets. If you live elsewhere, then the closest alternative is tartar sauce…which ready-made is usually horrid. When we lived in Australia a few years “remo” was the only food item from Denmark that we missed. Here you go:

Frikadeller:Take about 500 g of white fish, (cod, whiting, coley..whatever) 1 onion, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, plenty of ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons of flour and one egg and blitz to a fine paste in the blender. Add a dash of milk to make it easier to blend if needed. Heat 2 tablespoons of corn oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan, add generous spoonfuls of the mixture and fry for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve immediately, or keep them warm until you done all the frying.

Remoulade: Take 2 tablespoons of piccalilli, 1 tablespoon of good quality mayonnaise and blend until smooth. Taste, if needed add a little sugar and more mayonnaise, a tablespoon of capers and about 8 cornichons. Blend for 10 seconds until roughly chopped.

Serve the fishcakes with a big dollop of the sauce and a wedge of lemon. Some crusty bread and an ice-cold beer also help to raise the spirits and get you ready for a bit more smiling.

4 thoughts on “Hot and Cold in Gilleleje

  1. Oh how I miss Danish Frikadeller (and Gilleleje!)! I never ventured out to make my own so we made do with the yummy ones from Super Best. My family could do without the remoulade though. We much prefer what we call cocktail sauce — ketchup spiced with horseradish. Mwah!


  2. Can get remoulade in Ikea here in Austin. Miss danish sausages and frikadeller


    1. Kasper misses your fried seaweed! Can’t get that in IKEA


  3. No, don’t get sentimental Janet. We are freezing our frikadeller off here!


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