Faviken Linseed Crisps
There hasn't been a lot to blog about this past month. In spite of several warm days (if temperatures in the 30s can fairly be called warm) the ground has remained hidden under a thick blanket of snow. I think we've had three nice, heavy snows in the past 4 weeks. I've been doing a good deal of playing and cooking in the kitchen, but nothing I really consider worth sharing with you all. Mostly I've been replanning the garden, replanning our Creative Sustenance shooting schedule, replanning the order of things that need to be done in the house and yard...replanning already laid plans.
Today, however, I did make something worth sharing, if for no other reason than because I'd not made it before.
One of my favorite cookbooks from last year is Magnus Nilsson's Faviken. It's as much foodie philosophy as it is recipe book, and the recipes are wonderfully interesting. One that I thought would translate well to our future dining and tapas menu is Nilsson's "Linseed Crisps". It's a very simple recipe (only three ingredients), yet one that creates a finished product that is elegant and unusual. I of course complicated the process a bit by making my own potato starch rather than simply purchasing it, but we've been snowed in for a month and such circumstances are conducive to more hands-on effort.
Ingredients (for my initial experiments I reduced Nilsson's quantities by half):
- 100g flax seeds (flax seeds & linseeds are the same thing)
- 20g potato starch (you can buy it. I made my own, and tell you how below)
- 2g salt
- 350g water
Weigh everything out. Mix the seeds, starch and salt in a bowl. Pour in 350g boiling water and mix thoroughly. Let it soak for a while (Nilsson recommends 20 minutes; I was impatient and waited 10 minutes). Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet pan covered with a sheet of parchment paper. Nilsson recommends laying another sheet of paper on top and roll the mixture very thinly. I just spread it out into a more or less even layer with the back of a spoon. Bake at 300° for as long as it takes for the layer of "dough" to get hard and begin to pull away from the paper. It took more than 30 minutes for mine.
Gently, very gently, pull the crispy layer from the paper. It will likely break up into any number of irregular shapes and sizes. Achieving more uniform pieces is something I intend to work on in succeeding attempts.
The crisps are now ready to eat, with a dipping sauce or as a funky topping for ice cream or any other way you can think to use them. They have a warm, nutty flavor and look pretty cool. They're also gluten free. Part of the appeal of these is the appearance, with the seeds looking as though they are suspended in sugar glass or candy glass. This gave me the idea of trying to make some in actual candy glass, or at least making them with an added sweet ingredient like cane sugar or maple syrup. I'll let you know how that works out when I do it.
Make your own potato starch.
You can buy potato starch. I think Bob's Red Mill sells it. But what fun is that, when making it yourself is so easy and so interesting. Here's all you do:
Peel 7 to 8 average-size potatoes. I included a cassava root I had, along with the potatoes, as cassava is a very starchy vegetable (there are apparently some pretty intense toxicity issues associated with cassava if it's not cooked or prepared properly, so do some research and keep that in mind if you're going to use it). Grate the potatoes over the smallest holes on your grater.
Double layer some cheesecloth over a bowl and drop a big handful of the grated potatoes into it. Pour a little water (maybe 1/3 cup or so) onto the potatoes, Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and twist tightly. Then squeeze the dickens out the potatoes, with the juice going into the bowl. Repeat this process until you use up all of the grated potatoes. Let the liquid sit for a while (20 minutes), then gently pour off the top liquid, leaving a sedimentary layer of starch at the bottom of the bowl. Scrape this sediment out with a spoon and there you go. I let my starch dry overnight, before breaking it up with a fork into a more powder-like substance. There are all sorts of ways to use this starch (just about any way you can use corn starch). It's just pretty cool to be able to make your own if you ever want to. Note: I mixed the starchless potato/cassava gratings with salt and pepper, and a little onion, and fried them as hash browns for breakfast. Double bonus!