Summer Picnics

Sometimes summer makes you wait in Finland, and it feels like it doesn’t really arrive until July. But this year summer arrived at the end of May. We have been enjoying our time at the beach just down the road. One important part of making a trek to the beach is the “picnic”. It is not always fancy depending on our schedule but having a little snack or lunch after the swim is key. Today we didn’t happen to have a snack along, only juice and there was a few protests to be heard!

This peppered smoked Mackerel salad with new potatoes works great at a picnic. If eating at home, I have used freshly smoked fish but when picnicing I have used the canned version and added it on the salad just before serving. It’s filling enough after a long day in the sun but not so heavy to weigh you down.

peppered mackeral salad

Peppered Mackerel Salad

1 kg/2.2 lbs new potatos cooked, cooled and peeled
1 small spring cabbage or kale, chopped
3-4 generous handfuls of chopped lettuce of your choice (Lollo Rossa, arugula etc)
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
About 15 pickle slices cut into small pieces
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 filets of smoked and peppered Mackerel

The salad can be assembled either in individual serving containers or in a bowl. Toss the variety of lettuce, cabbage/kale and place as the bottom layer. Next mix the beans and use it as the second layer. Third place the finely chopped pickles and red onion on top of the beans. Cut the potatoes into fourths or sixths depending on their size and place on the onion mixture. Last add the Mackerel and garnish with a few spears of steamed and seasoned asparagus spears. Drizzle on the dressing and enjoy!

Vinaigrette dressing
1 dl/0.4 c olive oil
1/2 dl/0.2 c balsamic vinegar
one handful of fresh dill finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp sugar
fine seasalt to taste



  1. As always, your photos are fantastic. What a lovely day. I’ve never had a salad like this, but I’m definitely going to give it a try this summer. I think my husband will love it, too.

    1. Yes, we live only about a 5 minute walk away from the beach. It’s convenient enough that we make it there on almost every nice day in the summer. The summers here are so short that it pays to take advantage of the sun after the long winter 🙂

  2. What a lovely salad. And how clever to add smoked mackerel to a salad with potatoes and veggies and legumes! Thanks for sharing this great salad which I will definitely have to try.

    1. The combination of fish(pickled herring or salmon) with new potatoes is a popular Finnish summer food. The beans are not traditionally Finnish…this salad has some Nordic elements mixed with ingredients from elsewhere.

    1. Now that the kids are out of school, picnics and a swim have become a part of our daily schedule! Sometimes its just a simple affair and sometimes its for an entire afternoon and evening.

    1. Thanks! I found these great biodegradable card board boxes from the grocery store and they were really versatile! The only downside is that they stopped producing them now!

    1. Picnics are wonderful after a long winter! I feel that we have to take every opportunity to take in the light now that it is here, the dark season can be so very dark!

  3. A day at the beach with a picnic and drinks cooling in the water…how fun. You are much braver than I am…the water has to be so cold now.

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