June 23rd and not the 21st of June, is the day the Danes celebrate Midsummer Night, the longest day of the year. The sun rises 4.27 in the morning and goes down 9.55 in the evening. They celebrate the 23rd of June in order to mark Sankt Hans Eve – the night before the saint’s day of John the Baptist. It’s celebrated with a lots of bonfires that they begin building a month in advance so that by the third week of June, Denmark’s countryside is dotted with impressive twiggy mountains. On top of these twiggy mountains usually sits a witch. Well, not a real person but more twigs and straw dressed up with a dress, usually black and a big, floppy hat. She is sitting on a broom. The witch is the symbol of evil and they are burned and sent to Bloksbjerg in the mountains of Germany where all the witches get together. Why Germany? Nobody really knows. Burning of the witches started in the 16th century when the church convicted and sentenced women to death by flames. The practice of burning witches stopped in 1693 when a 74 year old Anne Palles was burned as a sorceress for “enchanted” a bailiff, caused the sudden death of a woman her husband danced with and been responsible for a poor yield on a farm on which she had once taken a pee. Now people have a tradition of burning straw witches since the 1900’s.
The Danes often eat their dinner at the beach and they love to roast hot dogs .Midsummer night is the one night of the year the Danes are allowed to make bonfires, big and small. Many people build a small fire and roast hot dogs while waiting for the larger bonfire to be lit around nine in the evening. Danish dogs are different from other countries and they have different toppings. Here four different hot dogs with different toppings. All of our sausages are made from pork, we have very few beef sausages. We are after all a nation of 5,600,To make 000 people and 15 million pigs. Although we import a lot of pork, we also eat a lot a pork. Therefore, our hot dogs are made with pork. The Danes also love fried, crispy onions so much that they can be found in plastic bags at the supermarket in Denmark. They are a must in Denmark but not to be found in other countries. If you want to try some, it is easy to make them yourself at home. .
Crisp onions: 2 medium onions or 6 shallots, sliced, 1 tbsp. flour and 2 tbsp. oil. To make the crispy onions, dust onions with flour. Heat oil in a medium pan and fry until golden and crispy.
Another must is raw onions and picked red onions. Here is a recipe for picked red onions.
Picked red onions: 4 tbsp. red wine inegar, 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 small red onion, thinly sliced. To make the onions, bring vinegar, salt, sugar and 1 cup water to boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in onions. Let cool. Drain before serving. Pickled onions taste best made the day before. They keep in the refrigerator up to three weeks.
Another topping is Cucumber Salad.
This salad is used as garnish in many open sandwiches and as an accompaniment to Danish meatballs.
1 large cucumber, 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, 1 cup water, 2-3 tbsp. sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper.
To make the cucumber salad, wash and dry a large cucumber thoroughly. If it is a spring cucumber the green rind may be left on, but late in the season, when the rind may be thicker and harder, it is best to peel the cucumber. Cut cucumber in very thin slices with a sharp knife. Mix vinegar and water and sweeten to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Add cucumber slices. Let stand for at least 1 hour before serving.
Mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup or remoulade are just a few of the dressing. I like to make a homemade remoulade.
Remoulade: 2 oz. dill pickle, finely chopped, 1 oz. capers, 2 tsk. minced onions, ½ cup mayonnaise or sour cream, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. To make the remoulade, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with more lemon juice, salt and pepper if necessary.
The first Danish dog starting on the left-hand side is mayonnaise and a relish that reminds one of the American relish. (dill pickles, red pepper, raw onions.)
The second Danish dog has homemade remoulade and pickled red onions. (see recipes above).
The third Danish dog has cucumber salad and fried, crispy onions. (see recipes above.)
The fourth sausage has been first wrapped with bacon and roasted , then garnished with mustard mayo, chopped pickles and cress.