One sandwich I have never gotten around to liking is the chicken salad sandwich. Perhaps it’s because I was introduced to it at a deli counter. The mayonnaise was so plentiful that I could hardly taste the chicken. Since then I’ve stayed away from all chicken salads, and supermarket deli counter foods for that matter. Still searching for a quick meal last night I decided to attempt to make my own and thereby kill two birds with a single chicken breast: rescue the chicken salad from mayonnaise hell and make a week night meal in time for Anders and I to enjoy a date night (go see the movie Unstoppable). Both were handily accomplished.
Unlike many of my American friends who were tormented by liver as children, I actually do like liver. Well, I do if either my mother or I made the dish. Oh… and I shouldn’t forget that liver breakfast served by the Pegasus hotel in Jamaica. At least, they used to when I frequented that place about 10 years ago. Liver just happens to be one of those dishes that can so easily cross the very thin line between sumptuous and sickening, light and leathery. This is especially true of cow’s liver, which I have been unfortunate enough to dive it only to find myself masticating like a cow! For that reason, I prefer to eat liver only from people whose cooking abilities I can entrust my liver eating palate only to – those who have consistently demonstrated the ability to respect that line of demarcation. Until I discovered liver pate, I thought that was a realm occupied only by myself and the chef at Pegasus. Liver pate is one of those dishes that are remarkably forgiving of overcooking. I’ve never made liver pate myself but have been happily eating it since Anders introduced me to it on my first trip to Denmark a few years back. It is the key part of one of his favorite smørrebrød items.
Leftover chicken is fantastic. Carefully pick all the little pieces of meat off, and make yourself a nice chicken salad. It’s very easy and simple, and we quite frankly look forward to the day after the roast as much as the roast itself. We have fallen in love with pepitas seeds (aka pumpkin seeds): These seeds are fantastic on sandwiches, as they provide some ‘crunch’ and taste great on top. We find them to be very under-utilized and the next experiment will be to try them on pizzas. We already know they work wonders on Lavash crackers. Posting this recipe makes us long to have a kitchen again, as currently everything we have is torn out and dumped. Over the next four weeks, we hope our fantastic contractor will be done building it back up, with lovely Calacutta marble counter tops and custom cabinets. Ahhh dreams…
One of the best things you can do with potatoes is to make potato sandwiches. Simply boil the potatoes, let them cool, and get creative. Since potatoes a very subtle taste, this is a great opportunity to bring out your best toppings. A really good mayonnaise always complements potatoes nicely, and the fried onions brings a little crunch to the party. This is a classic Danish open faced sandwich (in Denmark they call it Smørrebrød), which any kid that goes to school can tell you.
The most common sandwich in Denmark is probably the liver pâté Sandwich. Every school kid knows it, and often hates it due to the sometimes bare-bones minimum effort put into making it. This sandwich here we call “The Grey Lady”, and it’s a play on the traditional liver pâté ‘blah’ version – A serious upgrade if you will. It is not the most attractive sandwich, but it taste awesome. One last upgrade we could still add is using goose liver pate, but we couldn’t find any locally so that will have to wait.
When I was a kid, every other weekend I would spend with my dad and my step-mom. They lived in an old house in a residential neighborhood outside Copenhagen, with a great big yard with lots of plants and flowers and tables tucked away in corners. We always ate lunch outside when the weather was good, and I remember at the time I didn’t like it that much because of the bees, but it really was an amazing place to enjoy a good meal.
When I came visiting, often the first thing that greeted me was the smell of baked liver Pâté. My step-mom made the best liver Pâté I’ve ever had, and while it baked the whole house would take on the flavor and everyone would start gathering in the kitchen when we knew it was just about time to remove it from the oven. Ten minutes before, we would start toasting some dark rye bread and setup lunch outside. We would all gather the plates, cutlery and work together as a team, knowing that the reward was just around the corner.
The sound of the old timer’s bell chiming was the most wonderful thing you’ll ever hear. As we sat outside in the sun, making our warm liver pâté sandwiches, a silence fell as we enjoyed that first bite.
Perhaps I make it sound overly romantic, but that’s my own experience with this pate. My step-mom’s secret ingredient was curry, and she never gave it away. A few years ago cancer overcame her, and we thought her recipe was lost forever. However, a couple of months ago while I was visiting Denmark, I asked my sister again if she had found the recipe, and to my surprise she had. Tucked away in a pile of papers that had gone unnoticed for years, there it was.
So now, for the first time in maybe 15 years, this pâté which I have named Maria’s Liver Pâté after my step-mom, has finally seen the light of day again.
And once more, the house smells like childhood and summer and bees and flowers, and everything is as it should be.
For some, if not most, the concept of having a mashed potato sandwich may seem disturbing. However, if you find yourself wondering whether you are loosing your mind, you probably have never tasted one. They are delicious! So overcome your inhibitions, and make a mashed potato sandwich next time you have a little leftover. For this one I felt like adding flax seeds and ham. Since I want the ‘crunch’, I toasted half a ciabatta roll, and added fried onions on top for good measure. For a little hint of sourness, sweet dill pickles always does the trick, and a sprinkled of my newfound love, Dukkah, seals the deal.
While this particular sandwich was made with cod roe from a can, we recommend you convince your local fishmonger to get you some fresh roe (especially if you can get it smoked). However this was all we had to work with. The sandwich is simple, yet classically Danish. A toasted piece of bread is smeared with roasted garlic. Add cod roe and squeeze lime on top. Top with remoulade, capers, fried onions and ground green pepper. Very good, and an upgrade from the sandwiches schoolchildren get to take to school in their backpacks. A reminder of my childhood school lunches.. but much improved.
Admittingly, I never envisioned adding scrambled eggs to roast beef. It just seems wrong, but scrambled eggs were being made for dinner and so I thought, “Why not”. You can call this the serendipitous sandwich because lo and behold, it actually turned out quite tasty. For a little extra crunch, I added onions (both fried and raw, sliced). Another serendipitous discovery was just how good tomato relish was on this – it went suprisingly well with the eggs and roast beef.