Saturday, January 03, 2009

A New Year Brunch

The first day of the year was celebrated by a traditional brunch. What is more traditional to serve in Norway than open sandwiches, seasonal Christmas beer, and shots of aquavit. The open sandwiches were inspired by the ones I have enjoyed in Denmark, with topping in abundance, but I made my little personal twist to them as well. I served Danish and Swedish aquavit. Here are the recipes of the sandwiches I made.

Open sandwich with prawns and spicy mayonnaise on rye bread (Serves three)

Open sandwiches with large prawns with mayonnaise are served all over Scandinavia. I used fish seasoning containing garlic, dried lemon, herbs and added Spanish paprika to create a spicy mayonnaise as an interesting contrast to the prawns. Truly a success, according to my guests.

For three sandwiches you'll need

3 slices of rye bread (1 cm /1/2 inch thick)
500 grams of large prawns, peeled
5 tbsp Hellmann's mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp fish seasoning with garlic, pepper, and lemon
2 teaspoons sweet paprika powder

Mix mayonnaise with fish seasoning and paprika powder. I used Tone's Salmon and seafood seasoning, but if you do not have this mix, make your own. Then use a generous amount of garlic, pepper, lemon, dill, and paprika powder. If you use dried spices and herbs, I recommend a pestle and mortar to grind the seasoning into a fine powder. This will draw more of the essences from the spices into the mayonnaise. Allow mayonnaise and herbs mix to infuse in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Peel the prawns, and clean them in cold water. (Do not throw the shells away. Boil in water with stock cubes for 20 minutes to make a stock great for soups and sauces). Spread equal amounts of mayonnaise on the rye bread and add prawns in abundance on each slice of rye bread.

Open sandwich with akvavit marinated juniper smoked salmon with creamed scrambled eggs with Dijon mustard and tarragon. (Serves 3)

I used juniper smoked salmon from Lofoten producer. I mixed cold scrambled eggs with a sauce made from tarragon, mustard and mayonnaise. When assembled I poured a glass of Aalborg Jubileumsaquavit over the salmon, an idea derived from Ida Davidsen in Copenhagen.

For three sandwiches you'll need:

3 slices of rye bread (1 cm /1/2 inch thick)
200 grams / 7 oz smoked salmon or trout, very thinly sliced
4 eggs
3 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp Hellmanns mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp dried tarragon, finely ground
6 cl Aquavit

Mix Hellmanns mayonnaise with tarragon and mustard. Taste to find the right balance. Allow to infuse in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Make scrambled eggs from eggs and water. Allow to cool down. Mix in tarragon and mustard mayonnaise. Build up scrambled egg on the middle of the slice of bread. Cover the scrambled eggs completely with the thin slices of salmon. Pour 2 cl of Aquavit over the salmon.

Open sandwich with warm pepper paté, crispy bacon, fried mushrooms and pickled cucumber on rye (Serves 3)

A truly Danish specialty. I used Belgian pepper paté but most patés will do.

For three sandwiches you'll need

3 slices of rye bread (1 cm /1/2 inch thick)
6 1/2 inch slices of cold pepper paté
6 slices of bacon
4 mushrooms, finely sliced
3 cl brandy
Soy sauce to taste
6 slices of pickled cucumber

Fry the slices of bacon on a low heat in a dry titanium pan with no fat until golden and crisp. Allow to cool down.

Slice the mushrooms finely, and fry in excess fat in pan on a low heat. Add a little more butter if necessary. Add brandy and soy sauce to balance taste, and allow all liquid to evaporate, then add a little more butter and fry lightly. Allow to cool down in refrigerator.

Then start to assemble the dish. Place to slices of paté on the slice of bread. Add the cold crisp bacon, and mushrooms. Place in oven on a low heat (100C / 210F) for 10-15 minutes. Place cucumber on top when serving.

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