Smørrebrød in Rødbyhavn, Denmark

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Smørrebrød with Shrimp, Salmon, and Egg

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.

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Rødbyhavn Coastline

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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Danish Lobster Tails

 

 

 

Cherry Liqueur (Kirsebælikør) in Denmark

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Cherries are quite popular in Denmark, and my family is happy to enjoy them right out of the market basket.  Variations on Kirsebælikør, or cherry liqueur, are also quite popular.  I must admit that spending the afternoon on a ferry in the Baltic Sea exploring Denmark’s Viking heritage with my own horde of pint size, toy sword-wielding Viking enthusiasts, any combination of cherries and vodka sounds pretty darn good.  Go ahead, judge.  How many times did you get hit with a plastic sword today?

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups good quality vodka

1 cup good quality brandy

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 pounds fresh cherries, washed and stems removed

Directions

Step 1) Combine vodka, brandy, and sugar in a large bowl.  Stir gently until sugar is dissolved.

Step 2) Score cherries with a sharp knife and place in sterilized quart jars (two should be sufficient).

Step 3) Cover cherries with sugar/alcohol mixture.  Cover jars with tight fitting lids and store in a cool place away from sunlight.  Every few days, tip jars upside down back and forth a few times to mix ingredients.

Step 4) Liqueur will taste pretty fabulous after only a day or two, but for maximum flavor, try to let this sit for 2 or 3 months.  If only one of the quarts lasts that long, well, who am I to judge?  😉

Step 5) Strain liqueur from cherries, and serve liqueur in small cordial glasses.  Use the cherries for something else – a cake, perhaps?  Hmm… I feel another recipe brewing.  Stay tuned!

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Ferry Port in Denmark