open-faced September 10, 2010


I'm taking a blog break from waxing poetic and wistfully recalling our trip to Scandinavia in order to…share a Swedish recipe with you. I can't help it, people. The food there was *amazing* – beautiful colors, fabulous combinations of textures, liberal use of fresh herbs. Let's not even get started about the potatoes – I've never had so many perfectly cooked potatoes. Heck, the food there was so compelling that it got me to eat fresh dill, one of my most loathed flavors. 

My first run-in with räksmörgas was at Barista in Stockholm – a coffee shop that houses an indie movie theater. Their display cases were chock full of some of the most interesting and abundant sandwiches I've ever seen. I also have to say…I had the best latté of my life there. The open-faced shrimp sandwich spoke to me that day…and the 175,254 other times I saw some version of it on my trip. It's everywhere – in one form or another.

Two weeks after returning from our trip, my cravings for one of these bad boys just hadn't gone away. Since getting one of these in the States at somewhere other than IKEA was unlikely, I had to take matters into my own hands. What you put on your räksmörgas is really up to you. Traditionally, the essentials are hard-boiled egg, toasted bread, mayonnaise (Kewpie mayo worked really well here) and shrimp. Other than that, you can gussy it up however you'd like. For my version, I threw on some thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumber, as well as some lemon to squeeze on for acid. Some sandwiches I saw in Sweden had green leaf lettuce on it. I thought that might get a little unwieldy with everything going on the bread. Instead, a simple dill garnish added to the top for a little color and freshness – I think some fennel fronds might be lovely, too.

Räksmörgas – makes 2 fluffy, filling open-faced sandwiches

  • 2 slices good quality, hearty bread – whole wheat or rye would be great here. I used a onion Pumpernickel bread I got at a local farmers market
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, cut into thin slices
  • 4 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise – I think thinner mayo works best here – use Kewpie or homemade
  • 1/2 pound small shrimp (51-60 or 61-70), cooked/de-shelled/de-veined/chilled – I used fresh Gulf shrimp here
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced or cut into wedges
  • fresh dill or fennel fronds, for garnish

– In a dry skillet or toaster, lightly toast your bread slices. Apply 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise on one side of each piece and plate face up. Put down a layer of hard-boiled egg slices – roughly one egg per person. Divide your shrimp in half and place one portion on each piece of bread – it's supposed to be a big mound of seafood on it. Top with the thinly sliced tomato & cucumbers. If you've sliced the lemon thinly into rounds, drape or twist on top. If you're gonna wedge it, just garnish the plate on the side with it. Top with dill. While I would serve this immediately, you can cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Just allow it to come up to close to room temp before eating.


Faye Sep 10, 2010 02:09 pm

Now I’m hungry! I’ve had a few of these at coffee shops in Stockholm-my Mother is of Norwegian heritage, so we make “smørebrod” with all sorts of things, they’re easy and fun for parties.

Yue Edwards Sep 10, 2010 05:09 pm

It’s so beautiful!!

Tv Food and Drink Sep 10, 2010 08:09 pm

Fantastic! And what a great picture. I’ve never heard of räksmörgas before. Thanks for your post!

Jen Sep 11, 2010 12:09 pm

Yum Yum! This looks delicious and simple! I’m going to have to make it soon.

Helene Sep 11, 2010 04:09 pm

That is one gorgeous sandwich! So glad to hear you had such a good trip/break – you definitely deserve it!

parisbreakfast Sep 12, 2010 09:09 am

This makes me want to run off to Stockholm like today!
I had crossed it off the list after reading THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON etc…too many perves
But for this open-faced sandwich I’m leaving for the airport now.

The Teacher Cooks Sep 13, 2010 06:09 am

What a great looking sandwich! I love the photo!

Kristi Sep 13, 2010 05:09 pm

I made these tonight with fresh eggs from a friend’s farm, and it was a perfect dinner (no tomatoes, just plain). Thank you for a wonderful reminder of my last trip to Scandinavia.

Fertil Aid for Men Sep 22, 2010 06:09 pm

WOW!! YUMMY!!! ^_^ I love it! Hmm thanks for the recipe! ^_^

Amelia from Z Tasty Life Oct 12, 2010 09:10 pm

I am new at your blog (find you via Dana – common friend). Love what I have seen…hungry for more!

I think I am going to try this sophisticated and tantalizing open-faced for brunch on Sunday.

[…] ditch effort to enjoy super sweet summer tomatoes – and to continue my mild obsession with open-faced sandwiches and things on bread – I roasted some strawberry tomatoes on the vine and perched them atop a tartine of goat […]

Natali Jan 26, 2011 03:01 pm

very appetizing, thank you, today has made such sandwiches superrrr )))

Lemon Basil Shrimp Appetizer Jul 3, 2011 09:07 am

[…] Running with Tweezers: Räksmörgas […]