It’s waffle time!

Savory heart-shaped vafler make for a fun appetizer with flavors inspired by Norway

waffles

Photo: MatPrat / Synøve Dreyer
Savory waffle hearts with horseradish cream, topped with shrimp or dry-cured ham slices, make for a delightful appetizer or light meal to celebrate International Waffle Day with Norwegian flavors.

CHRISTY OLSEN FIELD
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

Happy Waffle Day! International Waffle Day is celebrated across Scandinavia on March 25. But I think any day is a great day for vafler!

Heart-shaped vafler are an integral part to Norwegian identity. They are widely available in cafes, restaurants, trains, sporting events, volunteer events, and home kitchens across the country. There are likely as many vaffel recipes as there are Norwegians, but one thing is in common: Vafler are a symbol of hospitality and coziness.

My love of Norwegian vafler is well documented in the Taste of Norway section, where I have written about it three times in the last two years. My go-to recipe is the sour cream-based Pappa’s beste vafler, which I’ve been making since I returned from a semester in Hamar, Norway. These soft, rich waffles are one of my very favorite things to make for loved ones, served with slices of brown cheese, jam, and sour cream. 

Last year, I made a vaffelkake to celebrate Waffle Day. This year, I am excited to share a savory take on waffles: Bruschettavafler, or Bruschetta Waffles with Norwegian flavors. 

I start with a savory waffle heart with herbs mixed into the batter, spread with a spoonful of pepperrotkrem, and topped with shrimp or thinly sliced cured ham and fresh herbs. These make for a wonderful appetizer or a light meal.

I try to stay away from specialty equipment for my recipes in The Norwegian American, but a heart-shaped waffle iron is necessary here. If you don’t have one yet, email me at food@na-weekly.com, and I will gladly connect you to your closest Scandinavian shop! (They can also be found at some specialty kitchen shops, big box stores, and online at Amazon.)

The pepperrotkrem (horseradish cream) is a flavor revelation to me, and it has made me a recent convert to horseradish. I recently had it as part of a British-themed takeaway meal from The Pantry Seattle, the renowned cooking school for food lovers in the Seattle area. The creamy combination of mayonnaise and sour cream tempers the horseradish’s fiery bite, so it tastes lightly peppery on the palate, rather than sinus-clearing heat. Even if you aren’t typically a horseradish fan, I do hope you’ll try this! Any leftover cream stores well in the fridge and is great with roasted meat, veggies, or on sandwiches.

As for toppings, I have two suggestions here for reker (shrimp) and spekeskinke (dry-cured ham), a Norwegian surf-and-turf, if you will!

For the shrimp version, I used pre-cooked bay shrimp. The tiny shrimp are naturally succulent and sweet, and a bit of chopped dill adds herby freshness.

For the meat version, I used spekeskinke (Norwegian dry-cured ham that is thinly sliced). It can be difficult to find if you don’t have a Scandinavian deli nearby, but Serrano ham or prosciutto are more readily available (and just as tasty).

And this is just a starting point for toppings. From pickled herring to gravlax, cucumber with thin slices of Jarlsberg cheese to smoked mackerel, there’s a wealth of flavor combinations inspired by Norway!

God vaffeldag! Happy Waffle Day!

What would you do for Norwegian-inspired toppings on bruschettavafler? I’d love to hear from you! Write to me at food@na-weekly.com.

Bruschettavafler — Bruschetta Waffles

Adapted from MatPrat

Waffles:

1 egg

½ tbsp. granulated sugar

1/3 cup sour cream

½ cup milk

1 tbsp. olive oil

½ cup flour

¼ tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. table salt

1 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped

Pepperrotkrem (recipe follows)

Toppings:

8 oz. pre-cooked bay shrimp

1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

8 slices Serrano ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced into ribbons

1 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped

Specialty equipment: Heart-shaped waffle iron (sold at Scandinavian stores online and specialty kitchen shops).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Add in the dry ingredients and chopped chives, and stir together into a clump-free batter. 

Set aside and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Heat up a heart-shaped waffle iron, and bake waffles one by one. Let cool on a wire rack.

Pull apart into individual hearts. Spread with horseradish cream (recipe follows) and add toppings.

For shrimp version: Top generously with shrimp, and add a sprinkle of fresh dill.

For meat version: Top generously with thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto (or spekeskinke, if you can find it!), and add a sprinkle of chives.

Pepperrotkrem

Horseradish Cream

Recipe by Marie Rutherford 

Reprinted with permission from The Pantry Seattle (thepantryseattle.com)

Yields about 1½ cups

3-inch piece of fresh horseradish root

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

¼ bunch chives, chopped

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Kosher salt to taste

Peel the horseradish root. Finely grate the horseradish using a microplane grater. If you do not have a microplane, use the small side of a box grater.

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and grated horseradish. Stir to combine. Add more horseradish if you want more spice.

Gather chives into a tight bunch and slice very thinly. Add to the horseradish mixture.

Add the apple cider vinegar and season with kosher salt to taste.

This article originally appeared in the March 26, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Christy Olsen Field

Christy Olsen Field became the Taste of Norway Editor in April 2019. She worked on the editorial staff of the Norwegian American Weekly from 2008 to 2012. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons. She is also a grantwriter for small nonprofits in the Seattle area.

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