Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson has found a use for autumn leaves in his kitchen where he has been known to boil up a broth of autumn leaves that he thinks “tastes like a season.” So, think again about the autumn leaves flying through the air with dancing autumnal breezes. Autumn leaves are falling and collecting on the ground where they are now being washed by gentle autumnal rains. They are beautiful, and Magnus Nilsson has found a use for them beyond the compost pile.
Of course you have to think ahead to create your own leaf broth because the ingredients called for include “2 handfuls of old autumns leaves from last year,” as well as 1 litre of fresh autumn leaves. Here is the full recipe.
1 litre good quality fresh mushrooms of different kinds / handful of clean moss / 2 handfuls old autumn leaves / 1 litre fresh autumn leaves.
Put the mushrooms in a heatproof container and pour 500g over them. Close the lid or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and steam for about 25 minutes in a steam oven at 200 degrees F.
Meanwhile put the moss, the old leaves and 3 handfuls of fresh leaves in a glass teapot. Remove the container of mushrooms from the oven and open it carefully. Adjust the salt if you wish, then immediately strain the hot liquid over the contents of the teapot. Leave to infuse for about 3 minutes.
Arrange some fresh autumn leaves in a bowl and pour the hot aromatic brother over them in front of the diner.
Nilsson gives this advice. “The trick is to use very little salt. Salt will emphasize the flavours and make it taste much too savoury like a mushroom stock, but if you barely salt it, or do not salt it at all, it will be more like a fine tea, with all the delicate nuances you want.”
This dish is available at Faviken, Nilsson’s tiny restaurant in Jamtland, Sweden. There are many other fascinating dishes as well, all described in Nilsson’s beautiful cookbook named after his restaurant. The photographs are gorgeous in a spare Swedish way, and looking at them, you might be hoping for a 20 or 30 course meal because the servings (in the photographs) look so small.
This is a photo of “Rose fish, coarsely chopped pieces of its liver and raw langoustine stirred with really good butter, lichens and a broth of the forest floor.” What you see in the bowl is “6 very clean round pieces of moss, cut to fit the size of your bowl. The broth made from autumn leaves is a part of this dish.
I confess that I am probably not planning to make these or many other dishes from Faviken any time soon, but I am of (half) Swedish extraction and the text of the cookbook is fascinating with its tales of Sweden as well as great information about ingredients and cooking.
For me this is a wonderful cookbook for bedtime reading, if not daytime cooking. How adventurous a cook are you?