Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 46-Denmark(Copenhagen - København):smørrebrød—open-faced sandwich - Up Next, Djibouti(AF)

Denmark (Copenhagen)(EU): Slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined, Denmark is the southern most of the Nordic countries and the first of the first of the "D" countries I'll be cooking in for the next week! After cooking my way through 18 "C" countries, this feels like a major milestone.  To celebrate, I decided to have some fun with one of Denmark's most traditional foods for lunch: the  Smørrebrød - an open faced sandwich which comes in a zillion different combinations, and knows no cousin in the United States. Now you know I HAVE to know where and how things got their start, so here's a little background on this venerable "sandwich."

Great bread is the foundation of the centuries-old tradition of smørrebrød. No matter what the size or shape of the bread, whole-grain is the rule rather than the exception, so most Danes get a regular dose of the fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients whole grains supply. Though no one knows the exact origins, smørrebrød (“buttered bread”) probably evolved from a custom of using bread rounds as edible plates so that no morsel of food or sauce was wasted. 

Beautiful Slow Rise Rye Bread from Nashoba Brook Bakery
In Concord, MA - Bought today at
Mudville  Market
Today it’s as much art form as sandwich. The only constant is a single, thin slice of sturdy bread, spread with butter to keep the bread from getting soggy.

The art comes in assembling what Danes call the pålæg, or “what is laid on top.” It can be as simple as last night’s leftovers, carefully assembled to complement flavors, colors and textures—or as elaborate and prescribed as the Stjerneskud (“shooting star”) topping: fried fish and cooked shrimp with caviar, lemon slices and dill. The toppings can be abundant, but never messy; “overstuffed,” thankfully, hasn’t made its way into the Danish sandwich lexicon. Though in Denmark they’re considered strictly lunch fare, in my own household smørrebrød often become tasty impromptu dinners and in smaller portions, spectacularly easy appetizers.

The world's BEST garlic from Hopestill Farm in Sherborn, MA

This is the recipe I settled on - check out this great blog from a fellow foodie:
Shrimp and Haddock for the smørrebrød

Combine basil, parley and fresh lime juice

Add creme fraiche to basil, parley, lime mixture

Dredge fish in flour, salt and pepper

Sauté until nicely browned on both sides  

Field greens from my garden 

Butter a slice of rye bread with UNSALTED sweet butter, top with greens 

Place fish on top of greens

Top with  creme fresh sauce

Done - the best Saturday lunch I've had in a LONG time

Oh, yeah - and beer - I had Belgian beer on hand - close enough!??


Recipe by The Scandinavian Cookbook
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 3 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 4 large flounder fillets
  • Butter, for cooking
  • 4 slices rye bread
  • 4 ounces mixed greens
  • 4 ounces frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Combine the basil, parsley, and lime juice in a bowl, then fold in the crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator. Mix the rye flour with some salt and pepper and use this mixture to coat the flounder fillets. In a skillet, melt a little butter and cook the fillets for 4 minutes on each side, or until firm to the touch. Divide the greens among the bread slices, then put a warm flounder fillet and some basil cream on each one. Top with the shrimp and a lime wedge. Serve immediately while the fish is still warm. Cold beer is an excellent accompaniment.

Final Assessment: Beautiful to look at! The combination of fish, lime, basil, parley and creme fraiche was out of this world...and, the bread! Sturdy, chewy and hearty rye bread is the key! A+ and...A++ with good beer!

1 comment:

Karen said...

mmm yummy ! And I love Hoe beer :) Can't wait to see you this week !