When it comes to sandwiches, the Danish smørrebrød isn’t just any ole sandwich.
Served open-faced and brimming with an imaginative combination of tasty ingredients, the smørrebrød isn’t any ho-hum lunch box regular.
It’s an artfully crafted meal that works for any time of the day. You can find smørrebrød served on plates at home as often as in gourmet kitchens. It’s the true Danish comfort food, while also packed full of fibre and healthy ingredients.
The idea behind the smørrebrød is rumoured to have started out as a way to create meals from left overs, and avoid waste. The idea was to rummage through the fridge and create a meal from leftovers.
Technically it can be just about any combination of ingredients, though there are some clear favourites including shrimp with lemon and mayonnaise, liver pate with ‘sky’ or pickled beetroot, smoked salmon with fresh dill, boiled egg, cucumber and tomato, cold, boiled potato with chives, beef and arugula, and blue cheese with apple and bacon. Hundreds of combinations exist, some more popular than others. And restaurants as well as people at home, constantly come up with new variations.
The tradition of smørrebrød dates back to the Middle Ages when thick slices of stale bread (also known as trenchers) were used as plates. The bread absorbed the drippings from the toppings and was then tossed out.
Through the years, the bread was incorporated into the meal because, really, it’s one of the tastiest parts.
During the 19th century, the smørrebrød truly earned its place in Danish culture. Factory workers packed open-faced sandwiches for lunch, since they were no longer able to return home during the middle of the day. The sandwiches eventually evolved from a working class staple to a mainstream tradition.
The tradition continued with beautifully looking gourmet open sandwiches being served as an indulgence in Copenhagen’s Tivoli gardens. Nowadays smørrebrød is a popular favourite in most Danish cafes as well as in gourmet restaurants across the globe.
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