This part of my life began when my very sick partner was diagnosed with Celiac. Even the slightest exposure to gluten can make him very ill for several days, so I have pursued gluten-free options with thorough aggression. In the U.S. a recent surge of gluten awareness means we have more choices than ever, but it still means hunting and analyzing and tracking down parent companies. After several years now of doing so, I want to share my tricks and tips with others who are still struggling.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Norway Recipe Box: Fiskeboller Pasta with Zucchini and Potatoes

This is part of my Norway recipe series, developed while living in Trondheim for four months.  These gluten-free recipes include items I was able to easily find locally and cook without access to an oven or microwave, and using no more than two stove burners.  This means they can be prepared in the typical kitchenette unit found in less expensive Norwegian apartments and hotels. Click Here for the full series

Fiskeboller Pasta with Zucchini and Potatoes

Fiskeboller are a very traditional Norwegian fish dumpling.  Normally I don't like fish.  Once a year or so I will try something fishy just to remind myself of that.  Because these are mixed with dumpling material and light spices, the flavor is mild enough to be good for that once a year test.  In flavor, fiskeboller are a lot like scallops.  They also come pre-cooked. 

Finding gluten-free fiskeboller was surprisingly easy.  Potato and tapioca starches are much less expensive here than wheat flour, so at least half of the packages I checked had no gluten ingredients.  The ones I used were in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.  There are also canned fiskeboller, which are much more common and more strongly flavored.

The very mild flavor means that you don't want to throw in anything to overpower them, like peppers.  I stuck to potatoes and a white sauce (very traditional) but added some color with zucchini, and mixed it up with some gluten-free rotini pasta and shaved jarlsberg cheese.

Equipment:  12 inch frying pan with lid, pot, colander, whisk, spatula

(serves 4.  Reserve half the pasta and cheese to cook the next day if intending leftovers.  Norwegian word for each ingredient in bold).

 1 500 gram package fiskeboller, drained of juices
 1 large fresh zucchini, chopped
3-4 small yellow or red potatoes, sliced thin (potet)
1/2 large onion or 2 small, sliced thin (løk)
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided (hvitløk)
2-3 white mushrooms, sliced (sopp)
 2-3 tablespoons potato flour (potetmel) or corn starch (maisstivelse)
1 package gluten-free rotini (or substitute extra potatoes)
2 cups milk (melk)
Olive oil for cooking (
oliven olje)
chopped slices of Jarlsberg cheese to garnish 

Set pot of water to boil for the pasta, and heat frying pan to medium.

Add oil to the frying pan and heat until it runs freely.  
Add onion and half the garlic to the oil and stir until fragrant
Add potatoes and stir-fry until starting to brown.  
Add 1/4 cup water and cover; turn heat down if necessary to medium-low.
Cook covered for five minutes.
Remove lid, add zucchini and more oil if needed, stirring until starting to brown.  If there is a lot of water left, turn up the heat a little.
Replace lid and cook another 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 
Add mushrooms, stir-fry until they darken, then remove all vegetables from pan.    

Start the pasta cooking (only as much as you need for this meal; cook it fresh for leftovers) 

Add the remaining garlic and some oil if needed.  Cook until fragrant.

Turn the heat down to medium-low. 
Mix potato flour or corn starch into cold milk, then pour into pan with the garlic
Use the spatula to stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up cooked-on residue. 
As it starts to clump, use the whisk to smooth out the sauce.  Add more milk if it needs to thin. 
When it is evenly thick and bubbling, add vegetables back into the sauce, along with the fiskeboller.  
Let simmer over low heat until the pasta finishes cooking and the fiskeboller is warmed through, stirring occasionally.  

Drain the pasta. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl, top with the mix, and garnish with chopped slices of Jarlsberg. 

Reheat leftover sauce in a lidded pot or frying pan on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until everything is hot.  Cook up fresh pasta and chop fresh Jarlsberg to serve with the leftovers. 

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