Local food – fish dishes
Luxembourg may be landlocked but freshwater fish specialities are still on the menu and you can try making them at home
Winter is a great time to hone your culinary skills, and what better way to do it than by trying out some local dishes.
Luxembourg’s cuisine has been influenced by neighbouring countries, but it also retains a unique roll-call of local specialities, often seasonal in nature, with many linked to religious festivals and local customs. Many are wholesome and hearty one-pot affairs that have been handed down through the generations.
In this article on local food, fish takes centre stage. The Grand Duchy may be landlocked, but freshwater fish are very much on the menu, and prepared and pared with a glass or two of locally produced Riesling wine. Here’s a few local fish dishes you can try at home.
F’rell Am Rèisleck
2 large or 4 small trout
240ml of Riesling
1 tbsp tarragon
pinch of chervil
½ tsp paprika
handful of parsley
handful of chives
250-300ml of cream or crème fraiche
If you’ve been drinking too much local wine, now is the time to atone, and put some in your food instead. This recipe is also gluten-free. Essentially trout cooked in wine and cream, the secret to this dish is the array of herbs, and the piquant taste of paprika.
Taking just 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook, it makes an ideal Sunday lunch. Fry your trout for 2-3 minutes in butter, then set them aside in an oven-proof dish. Next, finely dice and sauté the shallots in butter for 3-4 minutes, then add the Riesling, tarragon, chervil, paprika, and some roughly chopped parsley and chives. Lower the heat and add the cream or crème fraiche and stir for two minutes. Pour the mixture over the trout and bake at 180°c for 15-20 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes.
Fritür (or Friture de la Moselle)
freshwater fish (de-scaled and gutted)
salt and pepper
Another recipe originally from the wine region, these deep-fried small fish are a great accompaniment to a glass of chilled wine. You can use any freshwater fish, but it’s probably best to buy them from the fish counter gutted and de-scaled.
Cover the fish with salt and pepper and soak in lemon juice, before coating with a batter of flour and beaten egg and deep frying until golden and crisp in hot oil (180°c). Serve with a wedge of lemon and a glass of Riesling or Crémant.
If that all sounds a little too much like hard work, you can try Friture de la Moselle at Koeppchen bistro brasserie in Wormeldange, which has been dishing up this Luxembourgish speciality since 1907. The restaurant has a beautiful outside terrace and garden area, overlooking the Moselle atop a hill.
Mussels Luxembourg style
3kg of fresh mussels (pre-cleaned)
3 sticks of celery
3-4 leeks (white part only)
pinch of thyme
pinch of tarragon
½ bottle of Riesling
5 large cloves of garlic
100g salted butter
freshly milled pepper
The mussel season runs from July to mid-April, but you can find them in supermarket seafood sections all year round.
They mostly come from Belgium and The Netherlands, and are usually pre-cleaned although check for any that have opened and throw these out.
Firstly, finely chop the onion and shallots and fry in butter in a large pot. Then add finely chopped celery, carrot, and the white section of the leeks. Add a pinch of thyme and tarragon and the Riesling, and simmer. While the mixture is simmering, crush the garlic and mix with the butter and some pepper. Then turn the pot to a high heat and cook the mussels for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. Add the garlic butter and a sprig of fresh parsley and eat immediately with, of course, “frites”.
Hiecht mat Kraïderzooss
1 large carrot
1 large onion
2 sticks celery
large glass of Riesling
a handful of fresh sorrel
a handful of chopped fresh chives
a handful of chopped fresh parsley
Pike steamed and served with green sauce is easy to make, and if you don’t have a fish broiler you can use a steamer. Firstly you chop the carrot, onion and celery and boil in water with a bay leaf for 40 minutes to produce a stock. Add a glass of Riesling to it. Use a fish kettle to poach the pike in the stock, but if you don’t have a fish kettle,you can use a steamer basket.
In a separate saucepan, cook a handful of fresh sorrel and some chervil on a low heat and then add half a cup of the stock to the cream, and boil for a short time to produce a sauce. Add a handful of chopped fresh parsley and some chopped chives to it and poor over the poached pike.