17 July 2012

Mexican-Norwegian Wraps with Nettle Salsa

It happens all the time.

You go to a café, order a croissant and coffee; you're hungry, though not in the mood for dinner, and you can almost taste that crispy, flaky buttered goodness mingling with warm, black coffee. And then the waiter comes back with a black liquid resembling old dishwater mixed with acid rain, and a tepid, stiff and stuff croissant. You can't help but feel disappointed.

Then a few hours later, you get hungry again, stop by the local sandwich shop (which goes under the non-appealing, somewhat gross name of 'Big Bite') and order a regular chicken salad for lunch. In return you just get a squishy, mushy ensemble of slightly browned vegetables, something resembling chicken, but which I'm certain has to be tofu substitute; all covered in salty, thick salad dressing. But you decide to give it a try, because after all, you have already paid 39 kroner for it and that is quite a lot for mush.

You force your plastic fork into a sliced tomato, and finds it has absolutely no flavour at all. Then you move on to new territory, to the chicken and finds it not only looks like tofu substitute, but tastes like it as well (only with the consistency of Spongebob). Exasperated, you pull out wisps of hair and complain to anyone who'll listen about the failing quality of food.

And that's when you turn to your kitchen for comfort.

At least, that's how I began making my meals from scratch. Whereas my co-workers are perfectly happy ordering their regular kebab or taco wraps for lunch, I make a big fuss out of my lunchbox (the one I told you about, way back here). Well, I've grown tired of granola bars since then, and so the idea for this here wrap popped into my head.

Actually, I have Gael García Bernal to thank. You know, that Mexican actor who played a young Che Guevara in Diarios de motocicleta. The handsome one with kind eyes and black hair. This guy. Anyway, I watched the film on Sunday evening, and while I was listening to him speaking Spanish, I suddenly remembered that he was Mexican, not Argentinian like Guevara. Then I thought wouldn't it be a good idea to make something Mexican for lunch on Monday? I lingered on the prospect of making quesidillas for a second, but didn't much like the prospect of re-heating. Wraps, then.

Wraps aren't technically Mexican (I think), but Tex-Mex (I think), and since I was already slightly shifting from traditional Mexican to Mexican-inspired, I might as well go for a fusion. Now, fusion is nothing new – people have always nicked another society's food; resulting not only in the aforementioned Tex-Mex cuisine, but also British-Indian and Italian-American. Yes, the Italians may have invented the pizza, but it was the Americans who made it world famous why exporting it from sea to shining sea and beyond. Or something similar to pizza at least.

And here I am, following the great tradition of stealing ideas and food, and making it into something uniquely my own. First I had to substitute the tortilla, which was not an easy task. The tortilla has, of course, been a staple food for centuries in brilliant empires such as the Aztecs and Mayans, who were years ahead of their contemporaries in both mathematics and astronomy (I would have written ''light years ahead'', but Sheldon Cooper taught me that it is a measure of distance, not time. Like you care.)

The potetskake (potato pancake), on the other hand, has been a staple for hundreds of farmers in south-western Norway, who annually display their own brilliance at tractor pulling competitions. And by building stone walls everywhere, which is nearly as impressive as the Mayan temples. Well, almost, anyway.

The wraps were filled with all manners of goodies I like, ie. red beets, carrots, salad, asparagus and smoked salmon, which the Mayans most definitely did not have. Poor fellows. Imagine living without ever tasting smoked salmon (no wonder their civilisation collapsed). As a cherry on top, I added some nettle pesto, which technically is Italian-inspired, isn't it? Oh, what the heck, I'll call it salsa and move on. 

And, as always, you can substitute spinach for nettles if you can't get hold of wild nettles :) 

PS: I updated my croissants post here, in honour of the 14th of July.

PSPS: The wraps were really very good :)

Mexican-Norwegian Wrap


A handful of salad, of your choice, roughly chopped
1 asparagus, thinly sliced 

½ carrot, peeled 
½ red beet, peeled
60 g. smoked salmon, diced 

6 tsp. nettle salsa (see below)
2 basil potato cakes (see below)

Add half of the above recipes on each potato cake; roll tightly. 

 Basil Potato Cakes 

About two large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashedFlour 
Dash of salt
3 tbsp. basil, finely chopped 

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together. There are no exact measurements here; you just need enough flour to form a dough. Divide the dough in two, and roll each to a circular disk. Fry the potato cakes (don't use any oil/butter) on a warm frying pan until thoroughly cooked. 

Nettle Salsa

500 g. nettle leaves, rinsed and finely chopped
3 tbsp. pine nuts
50 g. parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
60 g. flax seed oil 
3 garlic cloves, minced

Mix all of the above ingredients save for the oil in a blender. Slowly add the oil until you're left with a thick paste. 

1 comment (s):

Anonymous said...

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I am sending it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious.
And of course, thanks in your effort!
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