Zander was Mannerheim’s favourite fish

The 6th President of the Republic of Finland, Marshal of Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim has been recorded in history as a great food-lover. For example, the marshal helped his sister Eva write the cookery book ‘Kokbok för finsmakare och vanliga hungriga‘ (‘Cookery book for gourmets and common hungry people’). He reviewed her manuscript and made a large number of suggestions for its improvement.

Zander was Mannerheim’s special favourite among fish courses. During wartime at the Headquarters in Mikkeli, he sometimes had a special courier fetch zander all the way from Hanko or Loviisa if it was not available closer. Mannerheim preferred to have his zander accompanied by horseradish butter and champignon sauce and served with boiled potatoes. In fact, this classic dish is now known as Mannerheimin kuha (lit. ‘Mannerheim’s zander’). The combination of Le Gruyére AOP cheese with horseradish lifts the classic dish to a totally new level.

Kuhaa Mannerheimin tapaan (Zander à la Mannerheim)
four servings
4 zander fillets
2 tsp flake salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika powder
2 dl breadcrumbs
4 tbsp butter for frying
Horseradish butter
100 g butter
40 g horseradish, grated
Le Gruyére AOP cheese, grated
  1. First prepare the horseradish butter. Mix together the softened butter and grated horseradish. Shape the butter into a bar, wrap it in plastic and place it in the freezer.
  2. Season the zander fillets with salt, pepper and paprika. Turn the fillets in breadcrumbs.
  3. Melt a dab of butter on a pan. Fry the zander fillets in batches on both sides until golden brown.
  4. Lift the zander fillets onto plates. Top them with dabs of horseradish butter and some grated Le Gruyére AOP cheese. 5.
  5. Serve with champignon sauce and boiled potatoes.
Champignon sauce
4 to 6 servings
100 g fresh champignons
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp wheat flour
1/2 dl white wine
1 dl water or vegetable stock
2 dl double cream
flake salt
pinch of white pepper
  1. Slice the champignons and sauté them in hot butter in a pot until the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with flour and stir.
  2. Add the white wine, vegetable stock and cream into the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for approx. 5 minutes and check the taste.
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