The Kingdom of Denmark (Kongeriget Danmark) is a Northern European country bordered in the south by Germany and by Norway and Sweden to the north. The land of Hans Christian Andersen is today’s Earth Eats featured country.
Traditional Danish cuisine, like that of many other Northern European countries, is heavily based on meat and potatoes, due to the harsh winter conditions. Having a large coastline means that fish/seafood too became an essential component of the cuisine of Denmark.
First impressions will leave you thinking that Danish cooking isn’t very healthy, but I have found otherwise. In the past years there has also been a movement promoting fresh local and healthier ingredients. Their cuisine keeps evolving and in fact Fromer’s said the following “Danish food is the best in Scandinavia — in fact, it’s among the best in Europe.” With a review like that you know you must give the dishes of Denmark a taste.
I have never really eaten Danish food; Up until the time I started researching Danish cuisine I wasn’t even sure if the famous pastry called “Danish” was an American invention or really one that originated in Denmark. It turns out that the pastry is eaten in Denmark, but there it is called winerbrod or Vienna bread and was invented by Viennese chefs in 1840. Though I do love a warm, soft and sticky winerbrod, I wanted to prepare something savoury and that wouldn’t conflict with my need to avoid wheat. So instead I would like to share another famous Danish treat: Smørrebrød.
Smørrebrød translates to bread and butter or open-faced sandwich. The small sandwiches are traditionally eaten during lunch or smaller versions are served as appetisers. The basic recipe is a piece of buttered rye bread topped with fish/seafood, cold cuts, meat, cheese, and fruits or vegetables. When doing my research I found that there really isn’t one specific topping that defines smørrebrød. What I found was that the variety of topping choices is huge. Yes, there are a few that you’ll probably come across over and over again, but many people add their own personal touches even to those classics.
There were so many delicious choices but In the end I choose to prepare 4 different types of smørrebrød. Both cured salmon and pickled herring are eaten frequently throughout Scandinavia, I absolutely love them both so I had to include them in the mix. Danish blue cheese is my husband’s favourite blue so of course we had to include that too. Then I came across a very unique recipe for herring with curry sauce — I love curry and can never resist trying out new flavour combinations. The recipe belongs to Marcus of the blog “Danish Open Sandwiches” He has among the best collection of recipes for smørrebrød, make sure you check out his blog. The simplest recipe for smørrebrød I came across was just butter and slices of radish.
Okay, now I’m going to give you the ingredients list for the sandwiches and recipe for the curried herring.
- Herring in Curry Sauce Ingredients:
- 5 pickled herring filets, sliced in 1 cm strips
- 2 tbsp creme fraiche
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp mild curry paste
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 dill pickle, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp pickled herring liquid
- half an apple, cored and sliced thinly or chopped
- ¼ tsp coriander seed, crushed
- ¼ tsp mustard seed, crushed
- salt & pepper to taste
- dill or chive for garnish
- Danish rye bread
- unsalted butter
- Stir to combine creme fraiche, mayonnaise, Dijon and curry paste.
- Add crushed spices, pickles, capers, onions and pickling liquid and combine. Allow to refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavours to blend.
- Remove from fridge, add sliced herring and apples to sauce.
- Serve about ⅓ of a cup of mixture on buttered Danish rye bread and garnish with dill and chives (or green onion). Enjoy with fork and knife!
cooked bacon, cut into even sized pieces
Danish blue cheese, sliced into thin slices
Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
!Ingredients for Gravad Laks Smorrebrod:
!Ingredients for radish smorrebrod:
thinly sliced radishes
pinch of sea salt to sprinkle over
This was a super fun lunch to prepare! I assembled the sandwiches before serving them, but I think it would also be great to lay out the ingredients and let everyone build their own smørrebrød. I’m thinking a fun thing to do for a party.
I have to say that I was not only intrigued by the curried smørrebrød, but also had high expectations — I was not disappointed. The tanginess of the pickled herring combined with the curry powder and other ingredients was amazing! I love the soft and crunchy textures. We had some of the sauce leftover and the next day I ate just that on a piece of rye, it was so good.
The smoked salmon sandwich was very good but nothing too impressive if you’re used to eating lox on your bagel. The radish one was very simple but still delicious. As for the blue cheese, apple and bacon one: that was my husband’s favourite. I loved it too, the tart cheese with tart and crunchy apple complimented the smokey bacon wonderfully.
This was such a different lunch for us and one we both would happily have again. We both are also looking forward to tasting other dishes from Danish cuisine.
Tell me have you eve eaten Danish food, if so what would you recommend we try next?
If you’re interested in Danish cuisine these cookbooks look delicious!
Blogs and great Danish Recipes to check out!
Wienerbrød – Danish Pastry Braid by My Danish Kitchen
Honest Cooking has many Danish recipes
FLÆSKESTEG (Danish Pork Roast) and Danish Aebleskiver (Apple Slices) by DiepLicious
Vegan Smorrebrod by Vegan Miam
Smørrebrød – Danish Open Sandwiches by Blow Up Food!
DANISH AEBLESKIVERS by Panning The Globe