150 years ago, a classic 'Swedish' dish is born at a hotel in Kalmar.
May 4 in history
1862: Biff à la Lindström was introduced by Henrik Lindström during a visit to Kalmar. The name Lindström may suggest something very Swedish, but Captain Henrik Lindström (1831-1910) was born and bred in Saint Petersburg, Russia—though in a Swedish family. Therefore the dish might very well have Russian origins, especially when one considers ingredients such as beets and capers. It was in 1862 that Lindström visited Hotell Witt in Kalmar and introduced his dish. He came with a group of friends and wanted to offer them something he used to eat in St. Petersburg. He asked that the ingredients needed for it be brought to the table: ground beef, finely chopped red beets, potatoes, onions, eggs, capers, salt and pepper. His friends mixed and stirred at the table, after which the beef patties were carried out into the kitchen to be fried in butter. “What shall we call this invention?” the restaurant keeper asked. The answer was: “Biff à la Lindström.” The result was much appreciated, and since that day there’s always a version of Biff à la Lindström on Hotel Witt’s menu.
Biff à la Lindström Ingredients:
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 pound (450 grams) ground beef
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup pickled beets, diced.
1/4 cup capers, diced
Mix all ingredients together and form into patties. (Some recipes call for a tsp dijon mustard to add a bit further spice) Heat butter or olive oil in heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry patties until medium rare, about 10 minutes per side. Serve as an appetizer on a buffet, or make hamburger-sized patties and serve with boiled potatoes or top it off with a fried egg, as some Swedes will do it.
Captain Henrik Lindström (1831-1910) introduces the famous dish Biff à la Lindström at Hotel Witt in Kalmar on May 4, 1862. It's an instant success.