Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Smørrebrød (Danish Open Face Sandwiches)

I'm so excited.   I'm going to be visiting with family in a few weeks and one thing I'm going to be looking forward to, apart from just getting to visit with them, is hopefully having a Smorgasbord.

Which means having Smørrebrød along with other fun foods from my childhood.

So I thought I'd share a few fun facts about Smørrebrød.  And pictures of some of my past lunches. They wouldn't be my current lunch, cause I've already eaten.   

Eating properly prepared Smørrebrød is like eating works of art.  Or at least that's what you're shooting for when you make Smørrebrød. 

Literally, it means butter (Smørre) and bread (brød) .  And you then 'pyntet' or deck it out with some pålæg (toppings) and eat them, with a knife and fork.  Only the most crass people pick up a sandwich and eat it with their fingers.

I mean, the manners of some people!

Just kidding, I've been known to pick up a lovely piece of Smørrebrød and eaten it out of hand in the past.  But, I have to say, it just doesn't feel right when I do that.   I grew up eating my sandwiches with a knife and fork.  That was just the way it was.

In Denmark you can go to school to learn how to make proper Smørrebrød, but most people make it in their own home.  It is lunch after all.

One factor though, is to make it pretty.   I've seen sandwiches that are works of art, so beautifully constructed that you are scared to cut into them, but we do it anyway.

To start with you need a good base, and in Denmark that's Rye Bread.  That wonderful, dense, sometimes seedy bread with a wonderful sourish tang to it.
I still had a few slices of the Rye Bread I made, which made up the base for following sandwich.  And you need a good base, you do, really, . 

I had made some Agurk Salat the other day, and then promptly ate most of it.  But not before I put some on a sandwich.  I had a leftover pork chop, and thought that the Agurk Salat and the pork chop needed to get acquainted.

So I introduced them.

They got along great, until I ate them.

Slice the leftover Pork Chop into very thin slices, on the diagonal.   Try not to get any fingers in the way.
Then spread a very thin layer of butter onto the rye bread.
  Next up is some mayonnaise.   Just a little bit, and on one slice I put some iceberg lettuce.   Although a nice butter or leaf lettuce would have been better.
  Layer the pork, over the entire slice of bread.  Technically, you don't want to see any of the bread peeking out.

 Then add some lovely Agurk Salat to the top.

Take several pictures, as you admire your lunch.
And when you can't stand it anymore, eat it.  And it was very good.
 So good in fact, I broke out that little tin of Pate I'd been saving, along with some Pickled Beets and the rest of the Agurk Salat.

And I had another awesome lunch, leverpostej med syltede rødbeder og agurk salat.  
Translated, it means Pork Pate with pickled beets and cucumber salad.    YUM!!!   

 Again, butter the bread, although I forgot to take a picture of that.  I showed you how to do it earlier in this post.

Then spread a nice layer of Pate on the bread. 
 And last but not least, add some Agurk Salat to the
  Or some Pickled Beets...
 Feel free to wield your knife and fork at this point.

I know I did.

  Sorry, but gotta go and finish my lunch now.  

And if you want to read more about Smørrebrød, check it out on Wikipedia Smørrebrød
Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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