‘Tis the season to eat your weight in festive food and the best way to do just that at Hotel Rangá is to attend the Scandinavian Christmas buffet. There are over 80 dishes included in the buffet and according to head chef Bragi Þór Hansson, 12 of those are different types of cured salmon.
“We also serve smoked salmon,” he says with a laugh, explaining that the dishes are a nod to the Rangá: the famous salmon river the hotel derives its name from. “It’s fun to have that connection.”
Among the 12 cured salmon dishes there are the classic dill, fennel and anise, blueberry and even one made with malt extract and orange soda – a concoction central to the holidays in most Icelandic homes. On the cold table Bragi and his team also serve rye bread, pickled herring, pâté, duck, traditional fried Christmas wavers and smoked leg of lamb, to name a few dishes. There are also warm entrees such as turkey, Christmas ham and a traditional leg of lamb and of course, there’s plenty of desert to go around such as homemade assorted chocolates, ris ala mande, chocolate cake, skyrcake and so on.
“My favorite dish is the reindeer-meatballs,” Bragi says. “I really like cured salmon too of course, but I try not to eat all the different assortments every day.”
He says the holidays are always a special time for the kitchen staff. While the chefs usually hang out in the kitchen, the get to roam the halls during the buffet.
“We serve the hot entrees and explain the different dishes to guests when they have questions. It’s a great change from the everyday life in the kitchen,” Bragi says.
The Christmas buffet is served this weekend (7th - 8th) and again next weekend (14th - 15th). You can also try your hand at Bragi’s simple citrus salmon recipe:
1 fillet of fresh salmon, weighing about 900g
250g brown sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
Zest of 2 oranges
Zest of 1 lime
Rinse the salmon fillets, and pat them thoroughly dry.
Stroke your hand along the salmon fillet to check for any stray bones. Use tweezers or pliers to pull out any pin bones, if necessary.
Grate the lemon, oranges and lime, creating zest.
In a small bowl, combine the salt and brown sugar with the zest.
Put third of the mixture on a baking pan that is big enough to lay a fillet flat on.
Lay the fillet skin-down on the mixture.
Spread the rest of the mixture on the flesh side of the fillet.
Cover the fillets and baking sheet with foil or plastic wrap.
Let the salmon chill about 2 days (or no longer than 6 days).
Remove from the fridge, unwrap, and rinse under cold water.
Cut into thin slices without getting too close to the skin, so the dark salmon is included.
Serve and enjoy!