A Nordic Christmas appetizer with heart

Norwegian flavors of caraway and potato make these savory waffles perfect for entertaining

Photo: Maria Stordahl Nelson These savory waffles pair well with Nordic toppings from lingonberry jam to roe.

Photo: Maria Stordahl Nelson
These savory waffles pair well with Nordic toppings from lingonberry jam to roe.

Maria Stordahl Nelson
Seattle, Wash.

If you happen to be a fan of waffles, and quite frankly I know no Scandinavian who isn’t, you’ve likely seen more than your fair share of the fluffy sweet treat on your weekly breakfast table. As the recent growth and popularity of waffle recipes have shown, waffles are really more than breakfast food, and they should rightfully find their place on the table at any meal.

Simply search online for waffle recipes and you no doubt will be swamped with results. The list is endless and includes so many delicious varieties: sweet, savory, and, believe it or not, even spicy! Our love of them is so great, there has been many a Saturday when we’ve regretfully over indulged in a particular recipe for some seriously decadent waffle doughnuts. Yes, waffle doughnuts. And while they have become a particular favorite of mine, savory waffles are fast becoming my go-to when I think of perfect brunch/lunch and dinner food. They’re delicious and easily adaptable. A blank canvas if you will and particularly mouthwatering with the addition of onions, cheese, and even bacon.

It should come as no surprise then that Nordic flavors complement waffles particularly well. Frequently I prepare my waffles generously spiced with cardamom or brightly studded with lingonberry or cloudberry jam, and I know many others who do the same.

It also follows that caraway is a lovely addition to savory waffles, and if those waffles also include potatoes, so much the better. Potatoes and caraway are such a fantastic combination and, in this instance, make waffles that are meant to be enjoyed in small bites, as appetizers. With the holidays fast approaching, I always like to have a few recipes just like this waiting in the wings. These are simple, a tad fancy but ultimately unfussy, really delicious, and go particularly well with an icy cold glass of aquavit or Champagne.

Savory Caraway Waffles
1 cup cooked, mashed potatoes
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsps. melted butter, cooled
1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsps. whole caraway seeds
1 cup. crème fraîche or sour cream
Lumpfish or salmon roe
Gravlax if desired

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and caraway seeds with a whisk. Set aside. In another medium size bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Mix thoroughly with a whisk to break up the larger clumps. The batter will remain slightly lumpy. Let sit for 10 minutes. While the batter sits, preheat your waffle iron.

Before cooking, check the waffle batter for consistency. If the batter is too thick, add up to 2 additional tbsps. of buttermilk to thin. Measure ¾ of a cup of the batter and pour it on the lightly greased waffle iron. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the waffles reach the desired level of browning. Remove from the iron, snip the waffles apart with scissors, and serve immediately with crème fraîche or sour cream and lumpfish or salmon roe. You may also choose to allow the waffles to cool and serve them later. If you choose to do so, pop the waffles in the toaster for a brief minute to crisp and warm them up.

Alternatively, you could serve these with gravlax, capers, and red onion and a generous smattering of fresh dill.

Serves 8-10 as an appetizer.

Maria Stordahl Nelson is a Seattle-area food writer, photographer, and recipe developer. She shares her love of all things sweet, savory, and sometimes Nordic at www.pinkpatisserie.net.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.