In the United States we use the word smörgåsbord to refer to any type of buffet style meal. It literally means “sandwich table” in Swedish. Its normally a large spread of cold and hot dishes, featuring regional ingredients such as herring, salmon, dill, cucumbers and crispbread. The sandwiches of Northern Europe are different from those we are most familiar with on this side of the Atlantic; they are normally served open-face. In Scandinavia, the midsummer is a popular celebration time. In North America, July is a month of national celebrations and picnics. You can add these smörgåsbord inspired recipes to your picnic side dishes.
2 English (Seedless) cucumbers, sliced in ¼ inch rounds
1 green onion, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
1 small red onion, sliced
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cold water
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons of fresh dill sprigs
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and water to make dressing. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the dressing. Grind in fresh black pepper. In a serving bowl, arrange the sliced cucumbers and red onion. Drizzle the vinegar dressing on top. Sprinkle with green onion, dill and parsley and toss. Place salad in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve chilled.
Tomato and Butter Sandwiches
This is a simple recipe for a typical Northern European open-face sandwich. Butter is a must for Northern European sandwiches, so much so that “smörgås” means the pieces of butter that float in churned milk. In Danish, it’s called “smørrebrød” and in German, “butterbrot.” Both literally translate as “butter bread.” Limpa is a type of rye bread, though you may use another type of bread to your own diet or taste.
Sliced Swedish farmhouse cheese
Sliced fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes
Chopped fresh basil
Sea salt, to taste
Simply spread a layer of butter on the limpa. Lay out sliced tomato on cutting board and grind salt onto the tomato slices. Place a slice of cheese and one slice of tomato on top of buttered bread. Garnish with finely chopped basil. Other traditional toppings for butter sandwiches include sliced hard-boiled eggs, pickled herring, smoked salmon or caviar. Be creative and try new flavors. For example, if you are vegan, replace the butter with butter substitute and the cheese with a slice of sprouted tofu.
1 quart still water
1 quart ounces soda water
4 sliced strawberries
1 medium cucumber cut into ¼ inch slices
Lime cut in wedges
A handful of sprigs of thyme
A handful of sprigs of rosemary
Several leaves of lemon balm
In a pitcher with one quart still water, add sliced strawberries, cucumber slices, limes and herbs. Refrigerate for about two hours. Pour over ice in glasses, about halfway. Top with soda water.
Janae Jean serves as editor, social media manager and podcast co-host for Conscious Community Magazine. She enjoys improvising in the kitchen and creating recipes with her loved ones and is very grateful for their suggestions, feedback and help. She is also a music teacher and sound healer; visit www.perennialmusicandarts.com and www.janaejean.com.
Photo: Janae J. Almen