Smørrebrød and Smörgås…Scandinavian Open Faced Sandwiches

by Courtney on January 6, 2013

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New Year brings new ideas, styles, way of doing things.With all the innovation and tends in food , sometimes we just need to look back at a simpler ,less complex time . A question on my mind with all the holiday catering, was how to deliver the most , for less, without sacrificing taste or quality. I was thumbing through my Catering trade magazine and saw Smørrebrød ( those famous beautiful open faced sandwiches from Denmark) listed as a trend to watch. It seems everyone is on the Nordic bandwagon. I knew after my first visit to Sweden in 2004, there was something special about Scandinavian food. Clean, pure, simple taste. Sparse , yet elegant. No overkill there with their food, and you are completely satisfied.

Smørrebrød can be sweet or savory. They are served for celebrations, lunch, dinners, late night bar/ club snacks.So you see they are very versatile. They can be savory or sweet. So the imagination can run wild with how to compose cheese, fruits, condiments, vegetables, meat and seafood. Like wines or beers, a full menu of Smørrebrød is progressive , starting with fish,meat or poultry, and then dessert. A thick smear of butter on the base of hearty rye , pumpernickel , or white bread, insures the bread doesn’t get soggy, as well as enhances flavor. Because of this seal of fat, they can be premade and refrigerated before serving.

I thumbed through some of my favorite Scandinavian Cookbooks for inspiration. A good one to consider is Scandinavian Cooking by Beatrice A. Ojakangas and The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahneman.

The trick to beautiful Smørrebrød or Smörgås ( Swedish) is an organized mise en place.It’s about structure and balance, so you will want your ingredients prepped and laid out. You needn’t spend a fortune. I found a great  dense European style bread at Aldi for pumpernickel and rye. The shrimp and smoked salmon will be a bit more expensive, but many things you will have on hand.

Butter ,Lettuce,Poached chicken , marinated cucumber with dill, sugar vinegar, tomato wedge and bacon

Butter, Lettuce,Mayonnaise,Small Shrimp, Dill, Lemon, Tomato.

Butter,Raw Honey, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Sliced Pear brushed with Lemon, Bacon

See  how easy these sandwiches can be?  The carnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians, and picky eaters will be happy. Mix cheese , nuts and fruits.Try to make your own compound butters, cream cheese, or may blends. Fuse cultures, the possibilities are endless and it wont break the bank.