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It is really simple to make your own SMØRREBRØD

A really easy to make lunch (or even dinner) – you might be tempted to invite guests for a traditional Danish meal?  Find here our tips for smørrebrød.

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By Bente D. Knudsen

OPEN-FACED SANDWICH, the English translation does not really cover what smørrebrød means, by now your Danish may be good enough, and you will know  that smørrebrød simply means buttered bread.

If you have not yet tried making your own why not have a go this autumn season .

If you serve them with a Danish snaps that is certain to keep you warm.

The following recipes were developed by Chef Michael Larsen for the competition, Danskernes Mad, a couple of years ago.

They are quite simple to follow and a good way to get started .

A very simple and popular Danish smørrebrød is the kartoffelmad (literally potato food).

It is really easy to make. You can use leftover potatoes from the day before, slice them, add mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and you have a delicious and simple smørrebrød.

In this recipe below a few extra ingredients have been added, but ultimately it can be as simple as just described.

Potato smørrebrød can be made all year but many Danes prefer the fresh and delicate taste of the nye kartofler.

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For this recipe you need (for 4 people)

Butter purée
200g peeled potatoes
½ tsp. of finely chopped lovage (also known as sea parsley)
100g butter
2 tbsps. cream
¼ tsp. salt

Cress mayonnaise
2 tbsps. mayonnaise
½ tray of cress

Additional for the smørrebrød
250g small potatoes with the peel on
2 peeled onions in ½ cm slices
1 tbsp. neutral oil (sunflower oil is good)
15g butter
Cress for decoration
4 slices of rye bread

Butter purée
Boil the potatoes, the ones you want to use for the sandwich should be taken out while they are still firm whereas the ones for the purée should be boiled until they are really well-done and good to mash. Once they are ready, pour out the water, add 100g butter and mash lightly. Season with salt and pepper, a bit of lovage, add a little cream and leave while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Fried onions
Put the butter and oil in a medium warm frying pan. When the butter has melted completely, add the sliced onions. Fry the onions until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove the onions from the pan and place them on paper towel to remove the excess oil.

Cress Mayo
Put the mayonnaise and cress in a food processor. Blend until the mayonnaise is green and even in consistency.
When the small potatoes (with the peel on) are cold, slice them into ½ cm slices.

Build up your potato sandwich by first putting a layer of butter puree on the rye bread, add slices of potato and make small rounds of cress mayonnaise with a teaspoon on top of the slices potatoes. Finish off your sandwich with the fried onions on top.

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Another famous smørrebrød is the one with cured salmon on white bread, franskbrød, or any other kind of surbrød.

Gravad laks is salmon cured with a mixture of sugar, salt, dill (optional) and assorted other spices. You can cure the salmon yourself or buy it ready made from the supermarket.

This is also a really simple open-faced sandwich. It should not be eaten on rye bread as other open-faced sandwiches are, but instead on a lighter flavoured bread – many Danes use surbrød.

Gravad laks is wonderful for its fresh and delicate flavour and is served with a traditional rævesauce, a kind of sweet and sour mustard sauce.

In this recipe Michael Larsen has made cured salmon with rævesauce and pickled green tomatoes on toasted surbrød.

For this recipe you need (for 4 people)

300g cured sliced salmon ( this is easy as you buy it ready cured at the grocery store or fishmonger)
4 slices of surbrød
2 thinly sliced pickled green tomatoes

125 g muscovado sugar
1 dl Dijon Mustard
1 dl apple cider
2 dl neutral oil
1 bunch of dill (half “hand-broken” and half finely chopped)
½ tsp. salt
Pepper (grounded)

Mix together the muscovado sugar, mustard and apple cider in a bowl. Slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl, beating constantly with a whisk. Basically, you are making an emulsion like mayonnaise. Once combined, stir in the finely chopped dill and season with salt and pepper.

Toasted surbrød
In this recipe it is not just ordinary toasted bread, instead you “toast” it yourself on a frying pan. Put 25g of butter in a medium warm frying pan. When the butter has melted. add the sliced bread. When it is golden brown, turn it and fry it the same way on the other side.

If needed you can add more butter when frying the other side of the bread. Leave the bread on a paper towel to absorb any excess butter.

Build your open-faced cured salmon sandwich by adding the thin slices of salmon in a nice high pile on the bread. Decorate with the thin slices of pickled green tomatoes and a spoonful of the rævesauce between the tomatoes.

Finish off by adding the hand-broken dill as decoration. ( If you want to save time you can of course use a normal toaster instead).


If you want to know more about Danish bread, find our full GUIDE to Danish bread here.