Discover this easy to make and delicious traditional Scandinavian open sandwich!
Prep time: less than 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 13 to 20 minutes
Yields 6 servings
Gluten/Soy Free (Dairy Free Option Available)
Ever had Smørrebrød? No? You are missing out! It is a simple Scandinavian open sandwich made with a dense brown bread and topped with a variety on delicious things! It is very simple to make and perfect for breakfast, snacking, lunch, or picnics.
I have made Smørrebrød topped with smoked salmon, salmon loin, pickled herrings, cream cheese, boiled eggs, butter, tomatoes, sardines, cucumbers, herbs, mayonnaise, pâté, etc. You name it, I have made it with it! You can use whatever toppings you want and that's what makes it such a favorite of mine.
This version is made with salmon, eggs, tomatoes, butter, fresh herbs, pickled capers, caviar, and onions. It may sound fancy and expensive, which it could be depending on the quality and prices of the ingredients in your area, but it is worth it.
Traditionally, Smørrebrød is made with rye bread or a dense brown bread. I used Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Ancient Grain Bread for this. You can use whatever bread you wish to or it is available to you.
What is the flavor profile?
Savory is the main thing. It changes with the choice of toppings.
What ingredients will I need to make this?
A dense brown bread, butter, smoked salmon or salmon loin, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, red onion slices, capers, caviar, fresh dill, and salt & pepper.
What else will I need to make this?
A pan to boil the eggs or an egg boiler, a cutting board, a knife, a small spoon, and a toaster or toaster oven.
Can I make substitutions and additions?
Yes. That is the beauty of Smørrebrød: you can use whatever you want.
Where can I find caviar that is affordable?
I actually found mine at Walmart and only pay less than US$4.30 for a 3.5 oz jar.
What is Smørrebrød?
Smørrebrød, originally "smør og brød" (butter and bread), is a traditional Scandinavian open-faced sandwich that usually consists of a piece of buttered rye bread (rugbrød), a dense, dark brown bread, topped with commercial or homemade cold cuts, pieces of meat or fish, cheese or spreads, and garnishes.
What kind of toppings can I use for Smørrebrød?
Traditional toppings include pickled herrings (plain, spiced or curried), slightly sweeter than Dutch or German herrings; thinly sliced cheese in many varieties; sliced cucumber, tomato and boiled eggs; pork liver-paste; dozens of types of cured or processed meat in thin slices, or smoked fish such as salmon; mackerel in tomato sauce; pickled cucumber; boiled egg, and rings of red onion. Mayonnaise mixed with peas, sliced boiled asparagus and diced carrot, called italiensk salat (lit. "Italian salad", so named because the colors match the Italian flag), remoulade or other thick sauces often top the layered open sandwich, which is usually eaten with utensils. It is custom to pass the dish of sliced breads around the table, and then to pass around each dish of toppings, and people help themselves.
More festive meals can be loosely divided into courses: Fish toppings first (such as herring, shrimp, or smoked salmon) followed by cold cuts and salads, and finally cheese with bread or crackers and a little fruit. One or several warm dishes are often served with the meats on special occasions, for example: breaded plaice filet, fried medister sausage, frikadeller with pickled red cabbage, or mørbradbøf (pork tenderloin with sauteed onions or a creamy mushroom sauce). Toppings change with the seasons and some are mostly associated with Easter or Christmas lunches, like head cheese and æbleflæsk (lit. "apple pork", roast pork or bacon in apple sauce). Summer offers lighter fare such as smoked mackerel, sommersalat (lit. "summer salad", radish and cucumber in a smoked cheese dressing), new potatoes, and freshly peeled shrimp.
Hundreds of combinations and varieties of Smørrebrød are available, and some traditional examples include:
Dyrlægens natmad (Danish: Veterinarian's midnight snack) — on a piece of dark rye bread, a layer of liver pâté, topped with a slice of salt beef and a slice of meat aspic. This is all decorated with raw onion rings and garden cress.
Eel — smoked eel on dark rye bread, topped with scrambled eggs and sliced radishes or chopped chives.
Leverpostej — warm rough-chopped liver pâté served on dark rye bread, topped with bacon, and sauteed mushrooms.
Roast beef — thin sliced and served on dark rye bread, topped with a portion of remoulade, and decorated with a sprinkling of shredded horseradish and toasted onion.
Roast pork — thin sliced and served on dark rye bread, topped with red sweet and sour cabbage, and decorated with a slice of orange.
Salmon — slices of cold-smoked salmon or gravlax (cured salmon) on white bread, topped with shrimp and decorated with a slice of lemon and fresh dill.
Spiced meat roll - thin sliced and topped with meat aspic, raw onion rings and garden cress.
Stjerneskud (lit. "shooting star") — on a base of buttered white bread, two pieces of fish: a piece of steamed white fish on one half, a piece of fried, battered plaice on the other half. On top is piled a mound of shrimp, which is then decorated with a dollop of mayonnaise, red caviar, and a lemon slice.
Tartar — raw lean beef mince with salt and pepper, served on dark rye bread, topped with raw onion rings, grated horseradish and a raw egg yolk.
A lavish piece of restaurant Smørrebrød can almost be a meal unto itself, whereas everyday toppings are much simpler and often ungarnished.
What are Capers?
Capparis spinosa, the caper bush, also called Flinders rose, is a perennial plant that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers.
The plant is best known for the edible flower buds (capers), used as a seasoning, and the fruit (caper berries), both of which are usually consumed pickled. Other species of Capparis are also picked along with C. spinosa for their buds or fruits. Other parts of Capparis plants are used in the manufacture of medicines and cosmetics.
Capparis spinosa is native to almost all the circum-Mediterranean countries, and is included in the flora of most of them, but whether it is indigenous to this region is uncertain. The family Capparaceae could have originated in the tropics, and later spread to the Mediterranean basin.
What is Caviar?
Depending on the country, caviar may also be used to describe the roe of other species of sturgeon or other fish such as salmon, steelhead, trout, lumpfish, whitefish, or carp. The roe can be "fresh" (non-pasteurized) or pasteurized, with pasteurization reducing its culinary and economic value.
6 to 8 ounces of smoked salmon or salmon loin
3 to 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced as desired
red onion slices
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh dill, chopped
salt & pepper
6 slices of Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Ancient Grain Bread or any dense brown bread of your choice
Unsalted butter, margarine, or any butter substitute
Toast the bread, let it cool down for a couple of minutes before adding a thin layer of butter.
Layer the bread with salmon, eggs, tomatoes, and onion slices.
Top with capers, caviar, salt & pepper, and fresh dill.
Printable recipe (pdf) below