I'm becoming obsessed with Scandinavian crime drama shows.
I know. Relaxing, right?
But let's face it, when the news makes me want to head to the liquor cabinet, crime drama has a strangely calming effect. Saunas, deep woods, homemade hooch that would probably kill anyone; nefarious deeds played out among beautiful lakes and birch forests put me in the mood for pickled beets and smoked salmon on dense rye bread.
Danish smorrebrod (from the word butter (smor) and bread (brod), and pronounced smuhr-broht ) is an open-faced sandwich that invites all kinds of improvisations. You can’t beat the sandwiches for appetizers or party fare. (Hint: holidays!) And they couldn't be easier. Mix some butter with horseradish and slather it on bread. Then go to town on the toppings.
They are also excellent to eat for lunch with a bowl of soup. You could try ham and Dijon mustard, or roast beef and horseradish, sliced hard boiled egg or any combination that appeals to you, just be sure to add something pickled, like beets, onions, capers or cucumbers. Look for dense whole meal rye bread, sometimes called “fitness bread. ” The brick-shaped loaf comes sliced and is available at specialty markets and some whole food markets.
I'm planning to have the ingredients around for the next few months to fill in when the turkey's gone. And I know I'll need sustenance for the Scandinavian nail-biters.
Danish Sandwiches (Smorrebrod) Recipe
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons drained prepared horseradish in brine, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices dense rye bread
6 ounces sliced smoked salmon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 (14-ounce) jar or can pickled beets, drained
8 radishes, thinly sliced
3 to 4 sprigs of dill, snipped with scissors
1. In a small bowl, mash together the butter, horseradish, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
2. On a cutting board, spread the bread slices, and slather each slice with 1/4 of the butter. Divide the salmon among the 4 slices, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Top with the cucumber slices, beets, radishes, and dill. Slice each piece of bread into 4 to 8 pieces to serve as an appetizer.