“In a country where understatement and simplicity reign, it makes sense that the unpretentious sandwich is embraced as a national dish.”
Danish Rugbrød, or rye bread, has been perfected over the last few hundred years, and the open-faced sandwich has been elevated to an art. Recipes for the dense, dark bread range from simple—containing just rye and wheat flours and cracked rye—to more complex—studded with seeds and sweetened with molasses or dark syrup. I prefer the more complex method, with layers of flavors created by the addition of more ingredients. The recipe I developed (coming soon!) has oats, cocoa, and blackstrap molasses, and flax, sunflower, and caraway seeds, in addition to the cracked rye. I also use Guinness instead of water!
For these open-faced sandwiches, or smørrebrød, as they’re called in Danish, I opted for a zingy and light crème fraîche mixture instead of the traditional butter (the “smørre” in smørrebrød). This is perfectly acceptable, but if you want to hold tight to tradition, you need that first smear of butter before adding any toppings!
3-4 slices Danish rye bread (or dark, coarse bread of choice)
a few small boiled potatoes, chilled
smoked mackerel (or other smoked oily fish of choice)
.5dl (scant 1/4 cup) crème fraîche
1 teaspoon horseradish
squeeze lemon juice
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
salt and pepper
3-4 sprigs fresh dill
a few chive blossoms, or other edible flower
Mix together crème fraîche, horseradish, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Snip in the parsley, and stir until smooth. Slice the potatoes, and flake apart the fish.
Spread each slice of bread with a tablespoon of the crème fraîche mixture. Arrange some potato slices, then some fish, and top with another dollop of crème fraîche. Snip over dill and chive blossoms.
Enjoy as the Danes do, with a nice, cold beer!