Smorrebrod, or Danish open-faced sandwiches, are more than just topping on bread. They are carefully selected to make an impressive and beautiful plate of food.
Years ago (BC) I took a day trip to Copenhagen. Yes, that’s right, I flew in the morning and flew out in the evening. The things you could do before kids, and when travelling was cheap and carefree. As we walked around that amazing city, we came to the food market: Torvehallerne.
As we walked along, I spied out the most amazing looking cabinet of food. Vibrant colours of fresh ingredients, I had found the one stall in the market selling Smorrebrod. I shelled out (way too much) money and bought four of them between the three of us. They were a revelation. Such simple ingredients, but combined and presented beautifully. Plus, they were so hearty that we could even finish all four between us.
What is smorrebrod?
In essence, smorrebrod are Danish open-faced sandwich. However, there are some rules when making them, and frankly, you always need a knife and fork to eat them.
The rules of smorrebrod
The bread has to match the ingredients, and it almost always a form of Danish or German rye bread (like rugbord). Fun fact, you can buy mixes of this type of bread at IKEA!
The bread must be buttered, creating a layer between the bread and the ingredients.
Ingredients must be fresh, and ideally local. As a rule, if I can’t get the ingredients seasonally I won’t use it.
The best smorrebrod combine elements of savoury, sweet, crunch and acidity.
Get a knife and fork, a cold drink, and sit back and enjoy your creation.
How to make smorrebrod.
Gather all your ingredients before you start to assemble. Cut your bread to have a slice of rye bread no thicker than ¾ of a CM.
Spread a thin layer of softened butter over the bread, make sure it covers the bead.
Layer your primary ingredient down, in this case, some tomatoes slices.
Start to build your layers buy adding your other big ingredients.
Add your garnish, such as herbs or cress. This garnish isn’t just for looking at. It will also provide a big boost of flavour.
Plate and add a dressing if you like. This tomato cheddar smorrebrod has a honey dill drizzle on it. Delicious.
A few quick combinations:
Smorrebrod combination #1
Thin strip of smoked salmon and quick pickled cucumbers placed on smooth cream cheese and topped with fresh dill.
Smorrebrod combination #2
Thinly cut tender roast beef on top of Emmental cheese with a dollop of English mustard mayo and watercress.
Smorrebrod combination #3
Fresh mozzarella, baby plum tomatoes and fresh basil with a few drops of olive oil.
Smorrebrod combination #4
Watermelon radishes and quick spicy pickled cucumber on top of smooth cream cheese.
To be honest, there are so many Smørrebrød combinations, it is worth it just playing around. Even now as I write this I’m thinking about the several herbs I have sitting in a herb box, wondering how they would go with roast chicken and some apple spears. I know, the mind boggles.
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