Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Smørrebrød: Danish Open-Faced Sandwiches with Smoked Salmon

You’ve heard of a smorgasbord—typically a buffet featuring a bounty of cold dishes, from lobster, smoked salmon, herring, and eel to ham and liver pate to sliced tomatoes, onion rings, pickled cucumbers, and gherkins to salads, cheeses, and spreads. In other words, if it’s fresh, delicious, and small-plated, it’s in.

Think of smørrebrød as a smorgasbord on a sandwich—always open-faced. While the toppings seem endless, there should be a balance of taste and texture. Start with slices of rye or pumpernickel bread spread with butter. From there, layer on complementary foods that you like and that taste good together—cold cuts, fish, spreads, vegetables, and cheese—keeping in mind that simplicity lets each item stand out, not get lost in a muddled mess.

For this recipe, I cut narrow, diagonal slices of bread from a loaf of fresh-baked, dense, chewy rye. You can also cut small appetizer slices and layer a variety of toppings on each.   

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup very thin (matchstick-sized) bell pepper strips, various colors
  • 1 small shallot, cut into very thin rings
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp jarred, grated fresh horseradish (in the refrigerated section of the market)
  • 4 narrow slices of rye or pumpernickel bread (7-8 inches long, 1-2 inches wide)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 very thin slices of hard salami
  • 16 very thin slices of havarti cheese (or gruyere)
  • 16 very thin slices of seedless cucumber
  • 4 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon
Peppers and Shallot
Smørrebrød Ingredients
  1. Whisk the vinegar, oil, and garlic in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the bell pepper strips and shallot rings and toss to coat completely. Let stand 1 hour.
  2. Whisk the sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Lay the bread slices on a work surface and spread each slice with 1/4 tablespoon of butter. Divide the salami and lay overlapping slices on each piece of bread. Divide the cheese slices on top of the salami.
Salami and Cheese Layer
  1. Drain the bell pepper and shallots and divide on top of the cheese.
  2. Lay overlapping slices of cucumber on top of the bell pepper mixture and top the cucumber with folded pieces of smoked salmon. Dollop the tops with horseradish sour cream.
Marinated Peppers and Shallot Layer
Cucumber and Salmon Layer
Plate the smørrebrød and serve the sandwiches with forks and knives.

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