Finland. Summer 2003. Lunch outside of a mild summer day. The server presented steamed salmon in a saffron creamy broth. It was simple dish, but the memory of its taste is grand. Recently, when I made Saffron Butternut Squash soup as an idea to include in a Thanksgiving menu, the first spoonful didn’t have me thinking of smoked turkey. Instead, forgotten memories of Finland returned.
It was the summer of learning about organic food, becoming environmentally-conscious and riding Copenhagen’s public bikes. The flavorful produce was fresh, bruised and unwaxed. Large chickens looked liked American cornish hens. Fingerling potatoes enclosed in a thin papery skin roasted into a buttery softness. I would return to occasionally trying to recreate the Saffron Creamy broth. It’s a simple sauce, in which I’m surprised to not have successfully created it. Perhaps, the simpleness of the sauce is underestimated. Ten years later into today, I would unwittingly recreate the taste with different ingredients, but the memories come courtesy of saffron. It’s distinct flavor beautifully infuses every dish.
The other ingredients for the soup are simple — not difficult to find. Sure, it has more than ten ingredients. The soup needs time to cool, before the arduous process of pureeing begins. The straining time takes too long to extract the thinner juice from the fibers. By the time coconut milk is stirred into this simple soup, one feels the work amounting to a spoonful of Saffron Butternut Squash Soup is worth the effort. Whether is served with a slice of warm bread, topped with seared scallops or steamed salmon, this is a timely soup temporarily returning me to that summer in Finland as new memories over today’s holiday are created. Memories that will be as distinct as saffron.