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Cured Salmon Smørrebrød

Cured Salmon Smørrebrød


My favorite recipes usually start out as not-recipes. They emerge from solitary nights of unplanned eating, when no one else is around. Usually, when I'm cooking, it's for a crowd, or at least it's dinner for me and Dan. Once in a while, though, Dan's got plans after work and I'm too ashamed to admit to my friends that I'm convinced Robert Durst is hiding in my shower (as if a Durst would ever take the 7 train), so I don't invite anybody over to keep me company. And I end up eating a loaf of bread by myself. Sometimes I just spread a slice of toast with peanut butter. Other times it's a smear of mayonnaise and a chopped up, boiled egg. Radish and butter is a favorite. So is sour cream and smoked salmon, or tuna salad and pickles. It's an exercise in fridge-raiding that I've perfected through the years. Anchovy, hot sauce and mashed potatoes on a slice of sourdough? Don't mind if I do.

I never would have thought to serve these toasts to anyone. It's always felt like my food, less in a possessive way, but more in an intimate way.

Intimacy, shmintimacy. Turns out I'm not the only person who eats open-faced sandwiches as lazy comfort food. I'd been minding my own business, eating my bread-with-stuff-on-top dinner all this time and then I find out that my "recipes" are, like, a major staple of Scandinavian cuisine. This is a quintessential lunch in Sweden and Denmark. This is their PBJ.

When I learned this, I felt exposed for a second and a little embarrassed that I assumed, basically, toast was my thing. It sounds absurd saying it out loud.

But then I realized: this means I can make my favorite "recipe" for people and it won't seem like a totally lazy move. Just tell your guests that you're serving a Danish smørrebrød. Bam! Brunch is ready in ten minutes, everyone feels kind of fancy and you never had to turn your oven on.

I based the spread on this recipe from Epicurious.

Cured Salmon Smørrebrød

  • 1 loaf Danish rye bread
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 3 tsp horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 lb cured salmon (not smoked)
  • 2 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp dill sprigs

Cooking Directions

  1. Separate bread slices. Combine sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix well to combine.
  2. Spread a heaping tablespoon of the sour cream mixture onto each piece of bread. Top with a slice of salmon, a few slices of radish and dill.
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