A old classic on the Danish lunch table is smørrebrød – or open face sandwich. The basic idea is to have a thin slice of rye bread (rugbrød) for the base, a cold-cut of meat (pålæg) and some garnish (pynt) on top for decoration. To complement the food a beer and a shot of snaps (aquavit) is served.
Make you own (but beware)
If you are invited for lunch at a Danish family you can also create your own smørrebrød. However for us Danes there are some combinations that make sense and some that will definitely raise eyebrows.
Good wholesome, safe choices:
- Roast beef — thin sliced, topped with remoulade, and decorated with a sprinkling of shredded horseradish and toasted onion.
- Leverpostej — warm rough-chopped liver pâté topped with bacon, and sauteed mushrooms.
- Salted ham (Saltkød) – sliced of meat with “Italian salad” (mayonnaise mixed with peas, sliced boiled asparagus and diced carrot) and spring onions.
Don’t do this in front of Danes:
- Remoulade on herring
- Remoulade on cheese
- Cheese on ham (This might be the most universal sandwich, but it’s not working in the Danish open sandwich world)
Ann has tried all three of the no-nos and had my parents and me send suspicious eyes. Have you tasted smørrebrød or had any “incidents” when you got too creative for the Danes?