Simplicity in a sandwich: Don’t overthink this elegant open-face shrimp smørbrød

Shrimp Smørbrød with lettuce, lemon, and dill.

Photo by Daytona Strong

Daytona Strong
Taste of Norway Editor

One of the things that stands out most to me about Scandinavian food is its emphasis on simplicity. It’s common knowledge among those who love food that if you start with good ingredients, you don’t need to do much with them. One of the most iconic items in Scandinavian food, the smørbrød, is an excellent example of this.

Hardly just a sandwich, this is knife-and-fork fare, the sort that begins with a good, hearty bread, a generous smear of butter, and toppings layered carefully and generously on top. Done right, it’s an example of understated elegance and hospitality.

It’s hard to pick a favorite. On first thought, I want to say I love the smoked salmon swirled around a creamy egg salad. But I often order Karbonader, a meat patty topped with caramelized onions. And then there’s the shrimp. They’re all classics. I suppose it’s okay to like them all.

Shrimp Smørbrød with Lemon and Cucumber

2 slices hearty bread

1-2 tbsps. softened butter

2-4 leaves of lettuce

6 ounces shrimp

4 tbsps. crème fraîche

2 lemon slices

2 cucumber slices

1 sprig of dill

Smear the butter evenly over the bread, taking care to thinly and evenly cover the surface all the way to the ends. Cover fully with lettuce, then divide the shrimp between the two sandwiches, arranging them in neat piles in the center of the lettuce. Top each with a dollop of crème fraîche, and arrange a slice of lemon and cucumber on top. Garnish with dill.

Serves 2.

Cook simply, with creativity, quality ingredients, and love, and you’ll produce something elegant that you’ll be proud to bring to the table.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 7, 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.