The Danish open sandwiches also known as smørrebrød,  are the most prominent feature of the Danish kitchen. These tasty sandwiches were not found anywhere else, not even in the neighboring countries of Norway and Sweden until recently. Now they are popping up all over the world.

The Danes have been eating open face sandwiches for about 175 years. Around 1875 the small inns of Copenhagen severed cold food for the workers who were not able to go home and eat a large warm lunch. The sandwiches were mostly leftovers from the day before. Small pieces of meat and chicken were placed on pieces of bread. The bread served as a plate. The juices from the meat was absorbed by the bread.  After eating the meat, these plates were thrown away. It  seemed like a waste to throw the bread away, so the Danes began to eat the bread together with the meat.

Around 1880, the people of Copenhagen got more money, and they started to eat out more. Fancy restaurants serving French food opened. These resturants took business away from the small inns. In order to compeat with the new businesses, the traditional wine cellers realized they had to do something in order to keep their customers. So they took the bland food they  had always served – rye bread and butter – and began to layer it with specialties such as lobster and russian caviar. It was, however, the old Danish recipes like meatballs, salted beef, herring, and potatoes – the traditional peasant food – that became most popular. For many years the Danes seemed to have forgotten these delicious sandwiches. Now smørrebrød is back in fashion.     


The Danes eat a lot of potatoes and one usually has a lot of potatoes leftover from the day before. This is a more modern version of a potato sandwich. The first time I ever ate a potato sandwich, I thought is was strange. I assumed the woman who served it for me was very poor. Now I know that this sandwich is one of the most popular sandwiches and can be found at not only small cafes, but at all of the best resturants in Copenhagen.


Serves 4

4 slices of dark rye bread butter with 1 oz. butter

4 small, cooked potatoes (fingerling or new potatoes)*

2 oz. mayonnaise

3 oz. salami, cut on a mandolin in thin strips

GARNISH: Chervil and wood sorrel

Peel the potatoes if they are not already peeled and slice them in thin slices. Place them on the buttered bread. Place a tablespoon of mayonnaise on top of the potatoes, 1 tablespoon of salami on top of the mayonnaise and decorate with wood sorrel and chervil.


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