FoodWine & Dine

Fjordrejer … A summer delicacy

If you have noticed the really small pink shrimps served on white bread with a slice of lemon, then you have found the Danes’ preferred summer dish.

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By: Henrik Stender

Pink summer shrimps from the Danish Fjords are, to the Danes, what oysters are to the French: an absolute culinary delicacy. They are also almost as equally expensive, but actually much more cumbersome to eat. Why? Because you are supposed to do all the hard work of preparing them yourself instead of buying them readily prepared.

You should also buy them while they are still alive, so that you can cook them, cool them and eventually peel them. By the time they are ready to eat, you are probably starving and getting nowhere with your peeling!

The best and freshest shrimps are, of course, those bought directly from the fishermen in one of the many Danish fishing ports. However, during the season you can also buy them from your fishmonger. The shrimps are usually sold both alive and precooked.

To get the best and freshest shrimps, many Danes believe you have to cook them while they are still alive and squirming

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How to cook them
The fresh and uncooked (meaning they are still alive and squirming) shrimps are placed into boiling water for two minutes. When they have turned pink, you take them off the heat and dump them into cold water, where they should stay until they are cold.

Some old Danish recipes say that they should be served while still slightly warm. This is probably because they are actually easier to peel when warm. You peel a shrimp by turning its heads around until it comes off, then you break off the legs, and finally pull the tail out of the shell.

It is important to use a good white sandwich type of bread, a Danish franskbrød or surbrød from a bakery, butter the bread and fill it with the shrimps. For more taste you can add lemon slices, salt and pepper, and garnish the lot with fresh dill.

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What to drink with these sandwiches
My grandmother remembers, as a child, that in her family and amongst her friends they always had a cold beer with their summer shrimps.

However, during the last 30 years, with the consumption of beer steadily declining, it has become more common to have a glass of cold white wine with them.