Looking for Smorrebrod ideas for your next party or picnic? Scandinavian smorrebrod are open-faced sandwiches invented by upper-class Danes during the 18th century.
In Denmark, when summer picnic season arrives, thoughts turn to outdoor gatherings by the lake or the sea. A large wicker basket, brimming with sandwiches and cheese, is placed atop a soft red checkered blanket.
This summer, instead of packing the proverbial peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, treat your loved ones to an authentic Scandinavian smorrebrod. It’s easier than you think.
Smorrebrod toppings Smorrebrod toppings are almost limitless. The only key is to use the proper Smorrebrod bread (a dark sour rye or pumpernickel) that is thinly sliced about 1/8-inch thick and evenly slathered with real butter. Hard-crusted white breads may be used for cheese, or seafood toppings such as shrimp, lobster or smoked salmon.
Smorrebrod toppings are almost limitless.
Often times, the Danish top their smorrebrod with leftovers from the previous night’s meal, such as sliced frikadeller (ground veal and pork patties) or sliced boiled new potatoes.
Pickled herring, one of Denmark’s favorite foods, appears in a variety of sandwiches. One of the most popular is on rye with finely slivered onion rings, lettuce and fresh tomato.
The only key is to use the proper Smorrebrod bread (a dark sour rye or pumpernickel) that is thinly sliced about 1/8-inch thick and evenly slathered with real butter. Hard-crusted white breads may be used for cheese, or seafood toppings such as shrimp, lobster or smoked salmon.
Many of Copenhagen’s restaurants pride themselves on their extravagant Smorrebrod menus — some with almost 200 variations. Like the English tea sandwich, presentation is important, and each tidbit of food should be attractively placed on the buttered bread.
Pack each of your Smorrebrod spreads in plastic Tupperware-style containers and be sure to bring along a variety of thinly-sliced breads, including pumpernickel, rye, and French. A potent Danish punch, made from Cognac, rum and champagne, along with a creamy beet salad, rounds out the menu.
Be sure to make the Traditional Smorrebrod Beet Relish recipe below. This relish is excellent with seafood, sandwiches, meats or as a garnish for you smørrebrød. For an interesting variation, add chopped cooked cauliflower.
Following are several Smorrebrod ideas. Feel free to pick and choose the recipes that look that most interesting to you!
Traditional Smorrebrod Relish
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sweet pickles chopped
- 4 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped onion
- 1 hard-boiled egg chopped
- 1 dash garlic powder
- Capers to your taste
- 2 cups coarsely shredded cooked beets
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Smorrebrod Egg Sandwich
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- 1 tablespoon chives finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Cheese thinly sliced
- 4 hard-boiled eggs
- 2 ounces anchovies drained and mashed
- 1 teaspoon onion minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup salad dressing of your choice
Smorrebrod Shrimp Butter (Rejesmør)
- 1 cup soft butter
- 1 cup shrimp cooked and minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 dash paprika
Smorrebrod Mashed Anchovies (Ansjos-Smørecreme)
- 1 cup anchovies mashed
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 teaspoon onion
- Minced strips pimiento
Smorrebrod Chicken Spread (Smørecreme af Hakket Kyllingebrød)
- 1 cup cooked chicken and giblets chopped
- 1 cup toasted almonds chopped
- 1 teaspoon onion grated
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Smorrebrod Salmon Spread (Laks-Creme)
- 1 1/2 cups canned salmon
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 pinch salt white pepper
- 1/3 cup soft butter
- 1 avocado pitted and mashed
- Jarred Pimiento strips
Smorrebrod Beet Salad
- 6 medium beets
- 1 cup finely slivered red cabbage
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 3 tablespoons minced sweet gherkin pickles
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups sour cream
- 3 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
Smorrebrod Punch (Bryllupspunch)
- 6 limes
- 1 medium pineapple
- 1/2 quart cognac
- 1/2 quart rum
- 1 quart tea sweetened
- 2 quarts club soda
- 2 quarts champagne chilled
- Traditional Smorrebrod Relish: Mix all ingredients. Store, covered, in refrigerator. Serve with the smørrebrød.
- Beet Relish: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and blend well. Chill thoroughly.
- Smorrebrod Egg Sandwich: Cream the butter, add the chives and lemon juice and mix until very smooth. Spread on thinly sliced bread. Top with cheese slices. Cover with second slice of bread. Mix the chopped eggs, anchovies, minced onion, dry mustard and mayonnaise until smooth. Spread on top part of double decker. Sprinkle with paprika.
- Smorrebrod Shrimp Butter Rejesmør : Cream butter. Grind the shrimp to a very smooth paste and mix with the butter, lemon juice and seasonings. Rub through a sieve until smooth. Spread on trimmed bread, shaped as you wish.
- Smorrebrod Mashed Anchovies: Mix first three ingredients together well. Spread on dark bread and garnish with strips of pimiento.
- Smorrebrod Chicken Spread: Mix the ingredients for each of these spreads well before spreading on openfaced sandwiches and garnishing.
- Smorrebrod Salmon Spread: Mix half the salmon and the mayonnaise, a little of the lemon juice, salt and white pepper. Spread small slices of dark bread with butter and cover with mixture. Mix other half of the salmon with mashed avocado and spread on small rounds of white bread. Garnish with strips of pimiento.
- Smorrebrod Beet Salad: Rinse beets and trim stems and roots. Wrap each beet in foil and bake at 350 F until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let stand. Unwrap beets and slip the skins off. Dice into 1/4-inch cubes. Place beets in a large glass or plastic bowl. Add the cabbage, onion, gherkins, salt, pepper, and vinegar to the beets. Let sit 10 minutes. Combine the sour cream and horseradish. Just before serving, fold the dressing into the cabbage-beet mixture, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature.
- Smorrebrod Punch: Slice limes very thin. Peel the pineapple and slice it thin. Sprinkle sugar over fruits sparingly. Add cognac and rum. Mix well. Chill overnight. When ready to serve, add the sweetened tea, soda, and champagne. Serve in glasses over cracked ice.