We’re not sure this is a classic Danish open faced sandwich in the sense that the toppings are a bit untraditional. Fried sage and Dukkah? That’s not what you would typically see in a Danish sandwich shop. But the concept is very typical: Meatball sandwiches are seen everywhere and classic toppings includes sweet pickles, lettuce and mushrooms. We just improvised on the theme, adding a bit of San Diego flair…
On a recent Pizz-Off!, we had three amazing pizzas. Two were made by our friends, and this one was our entry into our competition. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy the abundance of butternut squash now making its appearance in fall farmers markets, this is it! I love butternut squash. I have got to find a new way of expressing my pleasure about foods, since I seem to ‘love’ everything. But it really is true. There are very few foods that I don’t absolutely delight it and can’t find a way to work into a tasty meal. That has served me well since I’ve managed to quiet some of Anders initial protests and converted him to many foods that he had previously sworn off: Swiss chard, oxtail, sweet potatoes. Anyway, back to the butternut squash. I think it was about our 7th or 8th pizza night and I was racking my brain trying to come up with a new recipe to serve. When you have a pizza competition with friends every Friday, with each friend making a different pizza, you begin to stretch creativity. Then I remembered my birthday gift to Anders last year – a cooking class at Sur la Table. For that class, we prepared butternut squash ravioli with fried sage. It was wonderful-so much so that the following weekend we made our own homemade version. We haven’t made it since then (an oversight I will have to remedy soon!) So this pizza for me is reminiscent of that meal and combines all the flavors of that meal on a pizza : Butternut squash with fried sage and caramelized onions.
Note: This pizza is a little involved but it’s so worth it. You can prepare some of the ingredients (the squash and the onions) in advance to save time on the day of. I unfortunately thought up this recipe while at work. With two hours to prepare the ingredients before the guests arrived, I had to shop, roast squash, caramelize onions and the most critical thing – clean the kitchen! I needed every second of those 2 hours.
This past week one of this blogs co-founders celebrated his birthday and was given a party that in true Amazing Sandwich style. Anders was not only born in Denmark but spent most of his life there and it is his and that country’s commitment to the sandwich that served as the inspiration for our blog. Denmark is the world that has transformed this humble meal to gourmet standards. So it was only appropriate that Anders’ birthday be celebrated with an ode to the smørrebrød. So last week saw me scurrying about to purchase the necessary ingredients that would make Ida Davidsen proud. Ida Davidsen is the Grande Dame of Danish smørrebrød and operates a Michelin-starred restaurant devoted solely to this national dish. We planned on three of Anders’ favorite Danish smørrebrød: leverpostej (liver pate), Fiskefilet med remoulade (fillet of fish with remoulade) and frikadeller (meatballs). Today’s entry will be devoted to the fiskefilet. I know you are thinking – what could be so special about a fish fillet? Let me tell you my friend, this is no mere fish on bread. The preparation, construction and… alone took me hours. We had 14 at our party and so in making for your own, you’ll need to adjust the ingredients accordingly.
This was a pizza Anders put together during one of our weekly pizz-off’s, where we wave goodbye to the old week… with a friendly pizza competition amongst friends. The goal is not to win, but to have a great time (and win). Our newfound love for smoked paprika once again manifested itself in a generous sprinkle on top, which has the odd side effect of producing some rather red-tinted photos (for which we apologize). As we were all sitting around the table, sipping red wine like the pro’s, we reminisced about our childhood cardboard-pizzas from the nearby Domino’s or local pizza pusher, and wondered why we didn’t make our own pizzas while in college when it’s really not that hard and so much better.
A great tasting pizza for every occasion. This is fairly simple to make except for the dough, but places like Trader Joe’s now sell pizza dough which should make this super easy. We made this pizza as part of a giant birthday party involving 8 other pizzas which you can find elsewhere on amazing sandwiches.
Sometimes little things can really show the differences in culture. I was visiting Denmark recently, buying the roll below at the local baker. As I was about to leave the bakery, I saw a woman coming to the door through the glass window. I opened the door to hold it for her, but instead of coming inside, she looked at me and stepped aside to let me out. In Denmark, chivalry is dead if it ever existed, and this woman realized that I got to the door first, and so I should use it first. She did not for one second consider I was holding the door for her. Being Danish, and hungry, I left the baker letting the door fall shut behind me. Perhaps this is the price of equality between the sexes, 50 years of hard struggle in Denmark. No man should hold the door for a woman, because “Don’t they think we can do it ourselves?” Danish women often think that men being chivalrous are a sign from the men that they feel superior. I guess you can argue both ways, but a glimpse into my old culture that could perhaps use an upgrade. My sister loves it when I hold the doors, so there is still hope.
Recently we discovered the joy of smoked salmon on pizzas, and decided to try another one. This is our second pizza from Wendie’s surprise birthday party (of nine total), and also a very popular one amongst our friends. It’s simple in its ingredients, with very subtle tastes. The Sautéed mushroom worked great on the pizza (We used it a few times that night), and on this the avocado brings a coolness to the hot pizza that almost melts with the salmon.
A simple ham sandwich on dark rye bread, with melted cheese, onion and corn. The mustard gives it all a kick, and in retrospect perhaps we should have added a bit of freshly grated horseradish. If anyone tries that, let us know how it works out in the comments. This sandwich is highly dependent on the quality of the ham, so don’t be stingy. This here is our Jamaican Christmas ham, which is cooked traditionally with pineapples and lots of cloves, and works brilliantly for sandwiches and pizzas. Since we come from Jamaica and Denmark, this sandwich could be considered a cultural merger.
We just recently discovered the Spanish Valdeon cheese on an impulse buy from Trader Joe’s, and since then we’ve used it in several of our sandwiches. It’s not an overly strong blue-cheese, but not mild like Roquefort either. It sits comfortably in the middle of the spectrum, making it a great addition to sandwiches because it adds a lot of flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
This sandwich is on freshly baked Danish rye bread, with our leftover Jamaican Christmas ham (oh soo good). The baked pineapple that’s included was actually baked with the original ham, but you can of course use a fresh one. Enjoy.
Christmas Day we made Alton Brown’s Mighty Duck, since duck is a tradition in our family. Truth be said, we’re not sure if Alton’s recipe counts as a roasted or steamed duck, but we’re calling it roasted for now. This resulted in a delicious box of leftovers, which of course is perfect for sandwiches. So yesterday we baked ciabatta breads to celebrate the Mighty Duck.
Open faced sandwiches can be beautifully stacked creations, but when squeezed into a lunch-bag, carried by 10-year olds biking to school in a backpack and thrown in a community refrigerator, open-faced sandwiches may not be the first choice of lunch.
Not so for my mom. She was a firm believer in open-faced sandwiches and made them as if I was eating at home, except, she wrapped them tight in cellophane wrap before stacking them in my lunch box.
As you might image, the end result was not always… appetizing. Cod roe sandwiches with remoulade and fried onions turned into cud roe salad with wet soggy onions. A once tantalizing potato sandwich with mayonnaise and green onions turned into something wet and soggy, almost like paste.
This sandwich, a cod roe creation, is my own personal rebellion against my childhoods school sandwiches. I reject the cellophane wrap method, and embrace exuberance.
Growing up, I believe I had ham and cheese sandwiches maybe three times. My mom had found a recipe in a cookbook, and one day she announced she was going to make me a Hawaiian sandwich (The recipe included a piece of slices pineapple from a can, thus Hawaii). It was great, but once you open a can of pineapples you are committed to doing something with the remaining 9 slices, so my mom quickly stopped making the sandwich. A couple of weeks ago I had a dream about it (the dream also involved Jay Leno having purchased a personal Nuclear Missile painted bright red with warning signs, which was bolted down in his back yard with chains. Don’t ask, it was a dream). As you can imagine, it got stuck in my subconsciousness. I know, dreaming of sandwiches probably means we’re spending too much time writing this blog. Anyway, here is my variation of a Ham and Cheese Sandwich, without the pineapple.
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.
Contrary to what you might believe from reading the rest of this blog, sometimes we do enjoy the simple sandwiches. This one is about as simple as it gets: Bread and butter, salami and cheese. The only trick is to get good quality ingredients, freshly made bread, Italian salami with a great taste, and a fantastic cheese such as this Danish one called “Helge”. Yes, in Denmark cheeses have people-names. Go figure. Don’t even attempt this one if your bread is not fresh by the way, it will ruin your day.
This is another of those recipes that we have to add to this otherwise exclusive sandwich blog. These Danish meatballs are great for sandwiches, and will be used in some of our other posts. They also happen to be the national food of Denmark, and is consumed by everyone by bulk. They are great with mashed potatoes (Which in turn is great on mashed potato sandwiches), or as a side to a salad. Total cooking time is about 50 minutes, some of which is spent waiting for the meat to cool down before frying. Simple.Easy.Good.
While this recipe is ingrained as part of the danish culture, we notices that some american blogs have also gotten a hold of it, most noticeably the excellent simply recipes which we love to read. It’s nice to see these easy and excellent frikadeller spreading out in the world.