When is a sandwich not just a sandwich? When that sandwich is a beautifully arranged smørrebrød, the national dish of Denmark. Smørrebrød are open faced sandwiches with very few rules – perfect for cooks who love to be creative in the kitchen without being overly fussy. Crowded Earth Kitchen is featuring smørrebrød from Rødbyhavn, a Danish harbor town in an agricultural area just across the Baltic Sea from Germany.
Considering Denmark’s saltwater coastlines and storied fishing history, it should come as no surprise that many versions of smørrebrød prominently feature seafood. Salmon, herring, shrimp, crayfish (called kreb), and lobster are all enjoyed on these little sandwiches, along with roasted pork, beef, and chicken for variety.
All you need to make smørrebrød at home are a few ingredients and a bit of creativity. Freshness is key here – Danish cuisine favors high quality, minimally processed ingredients enjoyed in delicious combinations without a lot of fussy preparation. Try making your own smørrebrød from your favorite combinations of the following:
Small, thin slices of your favorite bread
- Rye bread is common in Denmark, but really, anything goes.
Freshly prepared condiments for moisture and flavor
- Mayonnaise, remoulade, and mild mustard are common, but nothing is preventing you from adding a bit more heat and bite if that’s your thing!
Thin slices and small bites of protein
- Beyond seafood, red meats, poultry, cheese, and egg, don’t be afraid to try less common ingredients such as tofu and slivered almonds.
Garnish, garnish, garnish!
- Please don’t neglect this final detail, or you miss the whole point of smørrebrød. It’s supposed to be pretty and show that you put some thought and effort into your food! Herbs (especially dill) are common, as are dollops of crème and specks of caviar. Really, the sky’s the limit. I’m thinking yellow lemon zest, black poppy seeds, purple pansy blossoms, red pepper slivers, and thin green chives. What do you envision? Give it a try!
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