Gastronomixs

Blackcurrant leaves, wood sorrel, and kohlrabi

Nicolai Nørregaard grew up on the Danish island of Bornholm, located in the Baltic Sea. As the island is isolated, his parents were often dependent on products harvested from nature and on local farmers. Together with Magnus Høegh Kofoed and Rasmus Kofoed, Nicolai opened restaurant Kadeau on the island in 2007. They wanted to introduce people to the products and natural elements that the island has to offer. In contrast to many well-known chefs, Nicolai has no culinary background or schooling. In the first year that the restaurant opened, Nicolai worked together with several chefs who taught him a great deal until he was ready to take on the role of chef himself. To Nicolai, his lack of culinary background is an advantage, as his creativity is not restricted by knowledge and theory. He was never exposed to the traditional dos and don'ts of cooking and is willing to explore every option.

Kadeau is inspired by living in nature and the local farmers on Bornholm. Nicolai uses hand-picked fruits, herbs, berries, and flowers in his elegant dishes and often applies techniques such as preserving, drying, salting, and ageing. In 2011, Nicolai, Magnus, and Rasmus opened a second restaurant under the same name in Copenhagen. In the high season in July and part of August, the restaurant in Copenhagen is closed and the restaurant on Bornholm is open. 

Nicolai explains the dish that he has created: ‘A couple of years ago we started a small garden for the restaurant on our island. Now we have a huge garden with hundreds of berry bushes that is managed by my father, his wife, and the bees of course! One of our favourite things is the blackcurrant bush. It is actually not the berry itself that is the most interesting thing for us, it is the leaves. They taste more of blackcurrant then the berry does.. The luxury of having a garden is getting all the fantastic stuff you can't buy for money.’ 

Creation by Nicolai Nørregaard, Kadeau* restaurant, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Serves 4

Blackcurrant leaves, wood sorrel, and kohlrabi

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Ingredients

100

g

wood sorrel, leaves only

75

g

blanched spinach

 

 

salt

2

leaves

white cabbage

 

 

salt

1

small

kohlrabi

5

 

razor clams

50 + 10

ml

gooseberry wine

50

ml

gooseberry juice

50

ml

juice of fermented peas

1/2

leaf

gelatin

5

ml

blackcurrant leaf pickle juice

 

 

salt

1

jar

blackcurrant leaves

500

ml

spirit vinegar, 6% acidity

250

ml

water

175

g

caster sugar

1

jar

figs, half ripe

500

ml

spirit vinegar, 6% acidity

250

ml

water

175

g

caster sugar

100

g

blackcurrant leaves

200

g

grape seed oil

1

jar

fireweed flowers, unbloomed and still on the branch

500

ml

spirit vinegar, 6% acidity

250

ml

water

175

g

caster sugar

300

g

green peas without pods

200

ml

water

6

g

salt

Preparation method: pickled blackcurrant leaves
  • Bring the water, vinegar, and sugar to the boil. When the sugar is dissolved, place the liquid in the refrigerator.
  • Pour the cold pickling liquid over the leaves in a glass jar.
  • Put a round plastic lid or something inside the jar to keep the leaves submerged.
  • Keep refrigerated. Wait two days before using. 
Preparation method: blackcurrant leaf oil
  • Blend the oil and the leaves on high speed for two minutes.
  • Wait 30 minutes and then strain through a fine mesh. Store the oil in small bags in the freezer to keep it fresh. 
Preparation method: fermented peas
  • Blend the peas with water on high speed for 30 seconds. Wait 30 minutes and then strain through a fine mesh.
  • Dissolve the salt in the liquid with an immersion blender. Put the liquid in a jar using some mesh as a lid.
  • Leave the jar at room temperature for three days. Strain and refrigerate. 
Preparation method: pickled figs
  • Bring the water, vinegar, and sugar to the boil. When the sugar is dissolved, place the liquid in the refrigerator.
  • Prick ten small holes in the skin of the figs with a needle. Pour the cold pickling liquid over the figs in a glass jar.
  • Put a round plastic lid or something inside the jar to keep the figs submerged. Keep refrigerated.
  • Wait two weeks before using. Just before serving halve the figs. Cut into 3mm-thin slices with a half-moon shape.
Preparation method: pickled fireweed flower buds
  • Bring the water, vinegar, and sugar to the boil. When the sugar is dissolved, place the liquid in the refrigerator.
  • Pour the cold pickling liquid over the fireweed in a glass jar. Put a round plastic lid or something inside the jar to keep the flowers submerged.
  • Keep refrigerated. Wait two days before using. Just before serving, pick the buds from the branch. 
Preparation method: wood sorrel purée
  • Make this just before serving.
  • Blend the wood sorrel and spinach for four minutes.
  • Add a little bit of water if needed, and make sure to scrape the edges of the bowl as needed. Season to taste with salt.
Preparation method: razor clam sauce
  • In a casserole, steam the clams in 50g of gooseberry wine until they open. Add just enough water to cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat. Wait for one hour before straining through a fine mesh. Reduce until 50g remains. Soak the gelatin in cold water. Dissolve it in the 50g of boiling stock.
  • Add fermented pea juice, blackcurrant pickle juice, gooseberry juice, and wine. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate. When it is set, strain it through a fine mesh to make it liquid again.
Preparation method: salted cabbage
  • Bring 5l of 3% salted water to the boil.
  • Cook the cabbage for two minutes and put it in ice water.
  • Drain the cabbage and cut into a half moon shapes with different sizes of 3cm to4.5cm long. Refrigerate.
Preparation method: kohlrabi
  • Cut into 3mm thin slices. Cut into half moon shapes with different sizes of 3cm to 3.4cm long.
  • Put in a container with water. Refrigerate.
Finishing and presentation
  • Make a circle of wood sorrel purée in the middle of the plate.
  • Arrange the cabbage, kohlrabi, and figs inside the circle, pointing the same direction. Arrange five small blackcurrant leaves on top with the wrinkly side facing upwards, and add some fireweed buds.
  • Add one spoon of blackcurrant leaf oil to the sauce. Add sauce at the table, one and a half tablespoons per plate.

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