A recipe for "kalakeitto" (Finnish fish soup)
Elegy for the last summer sun
I found myself confused recently and staring at the trees outside my apartment building. This was some weeks ago now. Though it could as well be a lifetime. I couldn’t decide whether it was the golden, late summer sun reflecting off the leaves that made them seem so yellow, or the leaves themselves starting to die.
Now there is no such confusion. Autumn is here and, in Finland, that means winter is as good as here also.
My life for the past few months has been defined by light and earth and fresh coastal water. Such is the joy of summer in this part of the world. A joy I’ve tried to share in my videos for you lately. And, it being so fresh in my mind, it’s almost impossible to believe the darkness is just weeks away now. A time during which the long night is broken less by the shallow, greying sun than by the brilliance of its reflection off the endlessly snow-covered earth.
I’m sharing a recipe with you today that commiserates this movement from warmth into darkness quite well. It is a fish soup both fresh and vibrant yet rich and comforting. It is a simple recipe, and traditional. Though I know it as Finnish, I’m sure soups like it are eaten around the world. All achieving those same things: comfort, safety, a moment of peace.
What I enjoy about this soup is how accessible it is without undermining flavour. There is no need for a time-consuming stock, or the artifice of a stock cube here. All the flavour you need comes from the vegetables, a little spice and herb, and the fish itself. It is very easy, can be very cheap, and is certainly very delicious.
And, so, before we get to the written recipe below, I invite you, perhaps for the last time this year, to our summer cottage here in Finland. Click below to watch a short film called Fish Soup. It tells the story of a recipe, a cook, and his coming to terms with the changing seasons.
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