FoodBuzz 24×24: Smørrebrød (Open-Faced Sandwiches): Eating Denmark

by Karen on Wednesday, September 8, 2010

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This week’s Danish lunch, sponsored by Foodbuzz and Electrolux for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, was attended by some of our gal pals from WYSE (Women and Youth Supporting Each Other).  WYSE is a national non-profit mentorship organization that partners college women with middle school girls.  All of us were were WYSE alumnae at UCLA (once upon a time) and what better reunion than a picnic overlooking the ocean with colorful smørrebrød, open-faced Danish sandwiches, and strawberry Danishes!?  Take part in our lunch by trying out these incredibly delicious and beautiful recipes, and making your contribution to support the crucial work of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

For the smørrebrød, I made 3 different toppings, all using classic Danish ingredients: a crab salad topped with chives and sliced hard boiled egg, roast beef with horseradish mayonnaise and pickled red onions, and finally creamy scrambled eggs topped with smoked salmon and dill.  The Danes typically use a dark rye bread, but any rye or pumpernickel bread will do.  Also, I recommend cutting off the crusts and lightly buttering the bread– SO ladies who luncheon.

Crab Salad

The briney crab in this salad is given an extra punch from the anchovies, but not enough to send it over the edge.  The bright lemon and fresh herbs also lighten this salad and make it a perfect salad on top of bread, crackers or just by itself straight out of the mixing bowl!

Serves 4-5

- 6 fingerling potatoes or 2 yukon gold potatoes
- 5 cups of crab meat
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely minced
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped (and a small handful of whole chives for optional garnish)
- 1/2 cups lemon juice
- 3 tbsp of mayo
- 2 tbsps of sour cream
- 4 hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place your potatoes in a pot of water (enough to cover them), and bring to a boil.  Simmer until the potatoes are done, which will vary depending on what type of potatoes you use.  If you stick a knife into a potato and it comes out easily, then they’re ready.  After they’ve cooled, peel the skins off and chop the potatoes into a small dice.

Remove the crab meat from your cooked crab.  Drain and lightly squeeze any excess liquid.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the crab, potatoes, parsley, minced chives, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, shallots and anchovies and fold all the ingredients together.  Salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, butter a piece of rye bread and top with a heaping spoonful of the crab salad.  Place a few whole sprigs of chives on top and cap it off with a slice of hard boiled egg.

(Recipe adapted from Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine)

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Pickled Onions

What could be better than beef roasted in butter with a salty crust?  How about spiked up with some creamy horseradish and lightened up with some tangy pickled red onions– it’s the perfect combination of flavors!

Serves 4-5

- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
-  1 red onion, sliced paper thin
- head of lettuce (like Butter or Boston), washed and dried
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- prepared horseradish
- butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbsps of white vinegar
- 1 tbsp of granulated sugar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

I used medallions here, because I cut the recipe down the time I made it, and it was what I could conveniently find.  If you choose to cut down the recipe you can do the same.  Instead of roasting, I seared my meat in a cast iron skillet with a nice pad of butter (about 5 minutes on one side and 4 minutes on the other for medium- and this will also vary depending on the thickness of your steaks).

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (make sure it’s clean otherwise you’ll have a smokey mess in the kitchen!)  Place the beef on a baking sheet and spread the butter all over it and evenly and generously sprinkle kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 22 minutes for rare and 25 minutes for medium rare.  Remove from the oven, let it sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting into thin slices.

For the pickled onions, combine your thinly sliced onions with the vinegar, sugar and a 1 1/2 tsps of kosher salt.  Mix the ingredients until everything is coated and dissolved.  Let it sit for at least an hour so the onions can get soft.

For the horseradish mayonnaise, combine a couple heaping spoonfuls of the prepared horseradish (drain the horseradish if contains a lot of liquid) into the 1/2 cup of mayonnaise.  Add a pinch of salt and give it a taste.  People like different levels of heat, so add some more if you think it needs some more kick!

To assemble, place a leaf or two of lettuce on buttered rye bread.  Add a few slices of beef.  Dollop a spoonful of horseradish mayonnaise next, and top it off with a few rings of pickled red onion.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Most of the recipes I found for creamy scrambled eggs (the Danish way) incorporated cream cheese which creates a creamy egg texture without being runny.  As for the salmon, nothing pairs better with it than a pinch of fresh dill!


- 10 eggs
- 2 oz of cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature
- smoked salmon, sliced
- 3 tbsps of butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- dill for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, a couple of big pinches of salt, freshly ground pepper and cubes of cream cheese.  Whisk until the cream cheese is incorporated throughout in white specks.  Melt the butter over medium heat and pour in the eggs and very slowly keep stirring the mixture until you get a nice smooth scramble.  Because of residual heat, turn off the heat and remove the eggs once the eggs are ever so slightly still wet/moist.

To assemble, place a heaping spoonful of eggs on top of buttered rye bread and drape a small piece of smoked salmon on top of the eggs.  Garnish with a some fresh dill.


{ 8 comments }

Erica September 10, 2010 at 11:05 am

Congratulations…looks like a total success! Definitely going to try this for a brunch party..thanks! xx

Deana September 10, 2010 at 11:15 am

Yum! These look beautiful and would be great for a tea party too!

Sara September 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

mmmmmh smørrebrød er goooodt!

adriana September 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

hey girls!

wow, so wish i could have been there! and speaking of UCLA- it brings back memories.. scary but it’s been TEN years since freshman year!!!! but just look at the amazing things you are creating. I’m seriously impressed : )

jeff September 11, 2010 at 11:17 pm

how do you pronounce that!!?? You guys are always trying the most “out of nowhere” foods. (at least to sheltered americans like me) Koodos to ya’ll.

Marcus March 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Absolutely beautiful looking smørrebrød. Looks almost too good to eat – but not quite! :)

Robin November 20, 2011 at 3:49 am

Jeff: It’s danish, and the ø is pronounced like “oe”. It literally means “butter(ed) bread” :)

Audrey October 18, 2012 at 11:45 am

Congratulation for this post.. it’s amazing! We linked it in our italian blog NonSoloPizzaeCinema.. where we talk about movies and recipes.. hope you’ll like! http://www.nonsolopizzaecinema.com/2012/10/rosencrantz-e-guildenstern-sono-morti.html

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