Vegetables Cooked with Autumn Leaves

A classic dish by Magnus Nilsson, Faviken
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Serves 6

This dish started as an attempt to recreate the feeling you get when harvesting and cooking new potatoes, bringing to the diner the experience of the chef cooking them or the gardener picking them. The idea is that you pick a perfect little potato from your garden, and cook it a couple of minutes later to get that extraordinarily delicious earthy-waxy fragrant experience of really fresh potatoes. We cook the potatoes with plenty of autumn leaves that have been lying outside for almost a year since last autumn, and are already starting to decompose into humus-rich soil. This further enhances that desirable aroma.

The leaves can be collected from the floor of a forest where trees such as birch grow. When collecting them, be sure to pick over the leaves very carefully before cooking them, because you are very likely to find the odd creature among the decaying plant material you collect. While these are not necessarily dangerous, they will not add to the pleasure of the diner or the reputation of the chef.

After cooking, the potatoes are plated with the hot leaves on top and the diner is then asked to dig them out of the dark, earthy-smelling mound, crush them between their fingers and dip them into some good butter before eating them straight from the hand. After using this recipe successfully for potatoes, we later applied the same principle to a wide selection of other vegetables: carrots, beetroots (beets), turnips, radishes, or whatever we had.

Ingredients

18 very good new potatoes, picked and rinsed well no more than 15 minutes before cooking them
6 handfuls autumn leaves from last year
100g butter


Method

Place the potatoes and leaves in a pot, cover with water and put a lid on. Bring to a boil and cook until done, but do not over-cook.

Plate the potatoes on a hot stone and cover them completely with the leaves.

Serve some good butter on the side and explain to your diners how to unearth them from the leaves with their hands, crush them in their fingers and dip them in butter in order to enjoy the experience to the full.

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Faviken

Fäviken is an exclusive insight into one of the world's most interesting restaurants: Fäviken Magasinet in Sweden. Narrative texts, photographs and recipes explain head chef Magnus Nilsson's remarkable approach to sourcing and cooking with ingredients that are farmed and hunted in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant, and how he creates a seasonal cycle of menus based on them.

Even though not everyone can visit Fäviken, Nilsson’s approach to working with ingredients in the most natural, intuitive way possible, and making the most of each season, will inspire all cooks and food-lovers to think differently about the ingredients that are available to them.

Many of the basic recipes for yoghurt, bread, porridge, vinegar, pickles and preserves are simple and straightforward enough for anyone to attempt at home, and the advice on natural preservation methods can be followed by anyone.

The text in Fäviken will provide inspiration for chefs and food-lovers all over the world and are fully accessible to the general reader.