Dining

Got Kærnemælk*?

René Redzepi's recipe for kolkdskål, Danish buttermilk soup

What'd you have for breakfast today?

Steel-cut blah blah blahs? That's cool.

Us? Oh, nothing special.

Just some leftover koldskål--that creamy, tart, old-school buttermilk treat served cool with biscuits and berries--from a recipe Noma chef René Redzepi gave us (see the recipe).

René Redzepi's kolkdskål, Danish buttermilk soup
The famous forager and progenitor of New Nordic cuisine was in New York last night to celebrate the launch of his new book, René Redzepi: A Work in Progress ($60), with a cocktail party at our Test Kitchen & Dining Room (see event photos).

Redzepi is known for his inspired naturalistic dealings with the edible landscape of Scandinavia. He is known for doing startling things with sea buckthorn and wild moss. He is known for live fjord shrimp hopping on ice.

He is not known for Danish comfort food.

Buttermilk | Berries
Still, when we were putting together the menu for the book party, Redzepi suggested simple, homey recipes that evoke a sense of hygge, that lovely, untranslatable Danish word that means "extreme coziness."

"I chose koldskål because it's everywhere and it's one of the things everybody looks forward to," Redzepi told us. "It is physically impossible not to have had this as a part of your upbringing if you spent time in Denmark."

The name, by the way, means "cold bowl."

Biscuit dough | Baked biscuits
"Don't ask me why. You start eating this in summer but it goes through autumn as well. Seriously, it's a little masterpiece if you get it right."

Getting it right means finding quality buttermilk: "It should be acidic and sour and creamy at the same time," Redzepi says.

It was a Copenhagen-ly cold night. Food media and some chef pals (Dave Chang, Marcus Samuelsson and Frank Falcinelli among them) came by to toast Redzepi, who talked about prying lamb's brains from their skulls (not a comfort food). The Test Kitchen sent out nice roasted pork belly and other warming bites. But our thoughts kept turning to this simple buttermilk soup. And how nice it would be the next morning.

There is one problem with having kolkdskål for breakfast. Redzepi says that Danes don't really eat sweet things at breakfast. But, as student of many cultures and a generally open-minded dude, he understands we're going to ignore his expert advice and eat it for breakfast anyway.

"It's so good, man," the chef says.

Noma Strandgade 93 DK-1401 Copenhagen K 1401 453-296-3297

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