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The new Scandinavian cuisine

Ethiopian born chef brings Swedish dining to the American table.

Marcus Samuelsson presents the daring interpretations of Scandinavian food that have won him worldwide acclaim in his new cookbook, “Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine.” Check out some of the recipes here:


Serves 4


For the marinade:

2 cups hot coffee

4 cardamom pods, crushed

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

4 6-ounce boneless skin-on duck breasts, trimmed of excess fat

1 teaspoon cardamom pods

2 2-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces

2 cups coffee beans

1/2 cup ruby port or Madeira


Prepare the marinade: Combine the coffee, crushed cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick in a bowl. Let cool. Prick the skin of the duck breasts all over with a sharp kitchen fork. With a small sharp knife, score the skin of each breast a few times. Place the breasts skin-side up in a baking dish. Pour the coffee mixture over them, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Remove the breasts from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels; discard the marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the breasts, skin side down, the cardamom pods, and the cinnamon sticks, and cook for 3 minutes. Scatter the coffee beans around the breasts and cook, gradually increasing the heat as the breasts render their fat, for about 5 minutes longer, or until the skin is crisp and brown.

Transfer the breasts to a plate and discard the coffee beans and spices. Return the duck, skin side up, to the skillet, add the port or Madeira, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Braise the duck breasts for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes to finish the cooking.

To serve, cut the breasts into 1/2-inch-thick slices and fan them out on four plates. Drizzle the pan juices over the duck and serve immediately.


Serves 4 to 6

Slightly underripe pears are better for poaching than overripe ones, which may become too soft as they cook.


1 cup ruby port or Madeira

1 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons honey

2 sprigs fresh tarragon

3 ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 pound fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes

2 endives, trimmed, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips


Combine the port or Madeira, red wine, honey, and tarragon in a medium saucepan, add the pears, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the pears are slightly softened. Remove from the heat and let the pears cool in the cooking liquid.

With a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the cooking liquid; set aside on a plate. Combine the cream, stock butter and 1 1/2 cups of the pear cooking liquid in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a small saucepan, add salted water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook the potatoes for 18 to 20 minutes, until just tender. Drain and let cool slightly, then peel and cut into 1/4-inch-think rounds.

While the potatoes are cooking, cut the pears crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Set aside.

When the sauce has reduced, remove the tarragon, add the pears and potatoes, and heat through. Fold in the endives and serve.


Serves 8 as an appetizer, 10-12 as part of a buffet


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced artichoke hearts

8 garlic cloves, cut lengthwise in half

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half

6-12 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped about 1/3 cup pitted kalamata or nicoise olives, or a combination

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus (optional) thyme sprigs for garnish

2 small medium Idaho or other baking potatoes

1 10-inch tart shell, pre-baked

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound fresh goat cheese


For the artichoke heart, you will need 4 large artichokes. Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into it; set the lemon halves aside. Bend back and snap off the outer green leaves from each artichoke until you get to the inner cone of tender yellowish green leaves; slice off the cone of leaves. Trim off the stem of each artichoke, cut the artichoke heart into quarters, and scrape off the fuzzy choke (a grapefruit spoon works well for this), then cut the artichoke quarters into think slices. Rub the cut surfaces of the artichokes occasionally with the lemon halves as you work, and drop the sliced artichokes into the lemon water to prevent discoloration. Drain thoroughly and pat dry before using.

You can substitute one 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, for the fresh. Thinly slice them and pat dry. Reduce the artichoke cooking time slightly, and proceed as directed.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the artichokes and garlic and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, lowering the heat slightly if necessary, until the artichokes start to soften and the garlic starts to turn golden brown. Remove from the heat.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup oil, the vinegar, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, and thyme in a medium bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic and mix well. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.

After the artichokes have marinated for 1 hour, preheat the oven to 450F.

Bake the potatoes for 40 minutes, or until they are mostly cooked through, with only a little resistance in the center when pierced with a thin-blade knife. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F.

Peel the potatoes and slice into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Layer them in the bottom of the tart shell, seasoning them generously with salt and pepper as you go. Drain the artichoke mixture, and spread the artichokes, tomatoes, anchovies, and olives over the potatoes. Crumble goat cheese over the top.

Bake the tart for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese starts to turn golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and serve warm or at room temperature garnished with thyme sprigs, if desired.


Serves 12


Cocoa powder, for dusting

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

4 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup plus 1/2 tablespoons sifted cake flour


Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease 12 4-ounce ramekins or aluminum foil molds with the softened butter. Dust with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.

Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until well mixed. Whisk in the melted chocolate and butter. Sift the cake flour over the top and fold it in.

Divide the batter among the ramekins, filling them no more than three quarters full. Arrange them on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the baking sheet around and bake for another 4 to 6 minutes, just until the edges of the cakes look set and have pulled slightly away from the sides of the ramekins but the centers are still slightly liquid; do not overbake.

Turn each cake out on a plate and serve immediately.

Pair these individual hot chocolate cakes with anything from vanilla ice cream to Curry Sorbet.

Use high-quality bittersweet chocolate for this recipe, such as Valhrona or Callebaut, available at gourmet and specialty shops, or Lindt, which can be found in most supermarkets.

The batter can be prepared ahead and the unbaked cakes frozen, well wrapped, for a few hours, or as long as overnight. Bake the frozen cakes for 9 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, and bake for another 9 minutes, or until the edges of the cakes look set and have pulled slightly away from the sides of the ramekins but the centers are still slightly liquid; do not over bake.

This recipe makes a lot of little cakes, but if 12 servings are too much for one occasion, you can freeze the extra unbaked cakes for up to 1 month. Bake following the timing in the note above. If you don’t want to make the 12 cakes, the recipe is easily halved.

Recipes excerpted from “Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine” by Marcus Samuelsson. Copyright © 2003 by Marcus Samuelsson. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.