Norway Out West

Norwegian Chef Oystein Solberg's pursuit of culinary perfection has taken him many places, but as a top instructor at Sage's Student Bistro, Omaha is the place he calls home.

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Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks

8  oz dried yellow peas

3  smoked ham hocks

1  medium carrot, diced

1/2  yellow onion, diced

4  black peppercorn

1  bay leaf

1  sprig thyme 

cheese cloth 

salt and pepper


Serves 4

To kick-start the rehydration process, soak peas in cold water and refrigerate the day before cooking.

Using cheese cloth, tie peppercorn, bay leaf and thyme sprig into a small bundle (you’ll discard later). Add the ham hocks, diced onion and seasoning sachet to a large sauce pot; pour in 3 quarts of water and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for about 4 hours or until the meat on the ham hock easily pulls away. Strain the peas, rinse and add; peel and dice carrot into 1/2-inch cubes and add to sauce pot. Continue simmering until peas and carrots are tender, approximately 2 hours. Remove ham hocks and clean meat from the bones. Discard bones and skin, and return the meat to the sauce pot. Once the peas and carrots are tender, add salt and pepper to taste, remove seasoning sachet and enjoy.


Success Tart

Egg Custard

3  Tbsp whole milk   

4  Tbsp whipping cream  

1  cup sugar   

1  egg   

6  egg yolks   

2  tsp corn starch   

6  Tbsp unsalted butter cut into 1/4-inch cubes


Almond Crust

1  cup almonds   

1  cup powdered sugar 

4  egg whites  

1/4  cup sugar


Serves 6

This light-as-air dessert demands heavy machinery – using a food processor, grind almonds and powdered sugar to a fine powder. In a separate container, whisk egg whites and sugar until it forms a stiff meringue and fold in almond mixture. Butter a round 7-inch cake pan and spread mixture into an even layer. Bake at 350o on middle rack for about 30 minutes or until the crust is separating from the cake pan.

Mix all ingredients (except butter) over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 20 seconds; pour into a bowl. Immediately stir in cold, diced butter until fully incorporated. Once the butter has melted and the custard begins to cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Remove crust from pan and halve, creating two full rounds. Spread one-third of the custard onto one round and top with the second round. Spread remaining custard over the entire cake, including sides. Garnish with shaved chocolate or sliced strawberries.

(This story originally appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of Nebraska Life Magazine)

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