As part of a New Year’s resolution, I’m cooking a dish from each country around the world. Check out my progress here!
From Finland, we move on to Denmark.
Prior to my culinary journey through Scandinavia, I was probably most familiar (and comfortable) with Danish and Swedish cuisines. Yet, from researching more about Denmark’s cuisine, I realized I knew more about the restaurant scene (and the New Nordic Movement) than about classic Danish home cooking.
One staple of Danish cuisine that I was unfamiliar with is smoorebord or open-faced sandwiches. Smoorebord, meaning ‘butter bread,’ consist of Danish rye bread that is topped with everything from herrings to meats. Traditionally, you start with your herring and move on to your other fish, then meat and finally cheese, and you’re not supposed to eat these sandwiches with your hands! Interestingly, this dish grew out of the industrialization in the 19th century in Denmark where factory workers started packing open-faced sandwiches for lunches as they could no longer go home for more leisurely lunches.
A few weekends ago, my aunt Rebecca and I went to Aamanns-Copenhagen in TriBeCa, a restaurant specializing (and modernizing) the Danish smoorebord. This New York outpost of the Aamanns restaurant in Denmark brings the “authentic Danish culinary experience” to the city. In keeping in line with Nordic cuisine, they also use locally sourced, seasonal, organic and high-quality ingredients for their smoorebord.
We sampled the following:
Herring pickled with black pepper, juniper, allspice and bay leaf, served with red onion, capers, egg and herb salad *
Kale “tartare” with radicchio, apple and crème fraîche
Pork pâté made with parsley, aquavit and fresh hazelnuts, served with pickled, puréed and raw beets
Beef tartare with egg emulsion, fresh tarragon, cornichons, capers, onion rings and crispy potatoes (my first time ever trying beef tartare)
Breaded, pan-fried white fish smorrebrod with green remoulade, herb salad and lemon
“Fiskefrikadeller”: pan-fried fish cakes served with remoulade, pickled cucumber, housemade rye bread and an herb salad
*I have tried to like herring several times, but I just can’t do it! I am clearly not Scandinavian at heart.
My favorites were definitely the beef tartare and the pork pate!
Danish home cooking shares a lot of similarities from what I’ve seen in the other Scandinavian countries (as would be expected). I talked to Karen of Scandinavia Today who told me about a couple other dishes I haven’t come across in my research — hakkeboef, a traditional steak dinner served with onion, gravy and potatoes and also, beer and bread soup or Oellebroed served with whipped cream. For more Danish recipes, check out Scandinavia Today at @scandinavtoday and their Youtube channel.
But for my own Danish culinary creation at home, I decided to make buttermilk koldskål or a buttermilk soup often served with biscuits (or Tvebakker or Kammerjunkers) and sliced fruit. This dish is frequently consumed in the summer and is a great cool, refreshing dessert or snack!
While there are a couple different ways to make koldskål, I used greek yogurt and buttermilk and sweetened it with sugar.
As for the biscuits, combine your dry ingredients with milk and butter, form into balls and bake! They were delicious on their own, but a great addition to the koldskål as well.
Serve the koldskål with sliced strawberries, a little basil and your tvebakker.