It’s Monday, it’s raining here, and I’d rather be in Iceland. We’ve been back home for a week now but I keep finding myself thinking about the countless waterfalls, amazing landscapes, RAINBOWS, sheep, and this place. The Coocoo’s Nest was one of the most surprising restaurant experiences I’ve had, and I know one day we’ll make it back there.
The restaurant is hard to find- on the outskirts of Reykjavik’s downtown area, and does not look like much from the outside as it is a re-purposed fish processing shed. After some extra detours, we walked into this very cozy, quaint restaurant and realized we were starving. The Coocoo’s Nest has a rotating menu; their small number of choices centering around a different theme depending on the day of the week. Thursday was Italian night, so I settled in with a glass of organic white wine and for the second night in a row, ordered the fish of the day without any further information.
All food and drink is expensive in Iceland, but with this added cost comes a much higher standard for quality, and this place was no exception. We were served some very crusty, fresh sourdough bread (loaves stored right on the counter next to the cash register) with infused olive oil. When my meal came, I instinctively reached for my phone to take a picture. No surprise there. The real surprise was that my husband paused and took a photo of his pasta before scarfing it down. That’s how you know you have a good-looking dinner.
The Icelandic whitefish I ordered was served with seared peaches, sweet potato mash, broccolini, purple basil, and edible flowers. Each bite was light, well-rounded, and so amazingly flavorful. I can truthfully say I’ve never had a more delicious piece of fish. The dinner we enjoyed here together was one of the highlights of our trip, and I’ll be thinking of this dinner for inspo next time I have some fresh fish on hand…
Today is the first day of FALL! I wait all year for this day; I am one of those people. But before I jump into several posts on the Fall recipes I wait all year to make, I am going to dedicate one post to Summer, because I guess it has its perks, too. Tomatoes.
Last Summer, my lifelong dream of cooking in Spain came true in a tiny kitchen in Seville. Accompanied by 22 of my new best friends (it’s a long story), I spent one morning wandering through an indoor market and sipping espressos out of tiny Styrofoam cups. Here, we attended a cooking class where we learned how to chop garlic in very confined spaces while drinking sangria. We cooked a number of traditional Spanish dishes that I am still working on recreating, but one that I’ve made time and time again is Salmorejo. This is a cold soup- and while I acknowledge that gazpacho-y things are not for everyone- this recipe is different. It is heartier than most cold soups, with its inclusion of bread and good quality *important* Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Every time I make this recipe, I’m taken back to sweating in this tiny kitchen with our new friends and laughing at our tour guide’s lack of organization, catching a morning buzz on homemade Sangria. Enjoy!
Salmorejo (3-4 1 C servings)
8 medium-sized tomatoes
2 small cloves garlic
2-3 T salt (to taste)
Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
1/2 large baguette (the stale-r the better)
3/4 C good quality olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar
Add tomatoes and fresh garlic to blender and puree for 30 seconds on high. Slowly add bread to tomatoes, letting it soak for a minute or so with each addition and puree until smooth. Once all bread is incorporated, turn blender on low speed and slowly add olive oil in top of bender- you’ll watch the color change to a creamy orange. Add sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper and give it a few final pulses.
Top with crispy Serrano ham or prosciutto and hard boiled eggs.