These are typically our menu plan of choice when we get together as a family around Thanksgiving weekend. Known in Denmark as Smørrebrød, sandwiches may seem to the uninitiated as inelegant or not dinner-party-worthy food, but the Danish versions really are both. As well, the unique flavors created are rather wonderful; hubby has fallen for them hard, as noted in a picture below. 😉 Building upon a flat and square slice of hard ryebread (cut in half), one adds various combinations of meats, cold cuts, pate, salads, condiments, etc. Wikipedia offers some more descriptions, though our family doesn’t favor some of the combinations mentioned. I think only Grandma enjoys the eel. 😉 I did have some in Denmark over the summer, but the Akavit helped me get through it. 🙂 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sm%C3%B8rrebr%C3%B8d
They are meant to be “pretty”, and since they are somewhat piled, are eaten with a knife and fork. In our family, we usually make the fixings for about ten different combinations. This main course is eaten slowly, with only one sandwich assembled at a time. It’s highly sociable and great for conversation (and digestion!) to eat with pauses this way. Oh, the main course is often preceded by a seafood course… some north Atlantic fish breaded and fried and served over bread, topped with remoulade and tiny shrimp or caviar and dill is one option. When I hosted our family dinner recently, I served a warm appetizer of tiny shrimp in cream sauce, spooned over several stalks of white asparagus, all over a nice Italian bread. Then come the half sandwiches on hard ryebread. The third course (just to wind down 😉 ) is a platter of various cheeses like Danish Havarti and stronger cheeses too, generally with fresh radishes, grapes and several types of crackers. All of the above courses are served with good beer and a Danish liquer called Akavit, sort of an anise-flavored spirit.
Desserts tend to be light but rich, creamy and frequently fruity. We do vary in our family, but the dessert of choice which came out again this year was Danish Apple Cake. I will post the recipe another time… you know, when I find it. 😉 Mom made it this year since I was hosting dinner, and I’ve lost track of my recipe LOL!
When entertaining guests not familiar with this food, we do pre-assemble the sandwiches to prevent any confusion over “what goes with what.” It also makes for a nice aesthetic to have them all decoratively done and displayed on platters. Here is one picture I found online showing them made up. The rest of the pictures were taken by my mom of our dining experience LOL!, and I included one of a place setting since I still really love my wedding china and crystal. ;-p