Thursday, December 17, 2009

Smørrebrød: Open-faced Sandwiches with Flounder, Shrimp, and Basil Dressing


After suffering through one of the coldest weeks I can remember in Los Angeles, I felt compelled this past weekend to break out The Scandinavian Cookbook. I flipped right to the January chapter--given that the temperature hadn't cracked 290 K in days, it just seemed like the right thing to do. This open-faced seafood sandwich caught my eye--a new take on familiar ingredients. Shrimp are one of The Gastronomer's and my favorite things to cook at home, and although the flour-coated fish didn't turn out quite as attractive as in the cookbook, I was generally pleased with the results. It was a different sort of dish than we're used to eating, with much cooler flavors than those typically found in Asian or Latin American cuisine. Funny how people in hot climates like to eat scalding noodle soups, while people in the arctic seem to prefer sandwiches topped with chilled sour cream.

Recipe by The Scandinavian Cookbook
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 3 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 4 large flounder fillets
  • Butter, for cooking
  • 4 slices rye bread
  • 4 ounces mixed greens
  • 4 ounces frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Combine the basil, parsley, and lime juice in a bowl, then fold in the crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator. Mix the rye flour with some salt and pepper and use this mixture to coat the flounder fillets. In a skillet, melt a little butter and cook the fillets for 4 minutes on each side, or until firm to the touch. Divide the greens among the bread slices, then put a warm flounder fillet and some basil cream on each one. Top with the shrimp and a lime wedge. Serve immediately while the fish is still warm. Cold beer is an excellent accompaniment.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 30 minutes (included shelling and cooking 1 lb of shrimp)
Substitutions: Instead of using pre-cooked shrimp, I blanched them myself at home. They're really luxurious--it almost doesn't seem fair how easy it is. Just drop the shrimp in salted boiling water for 30-45 seconds; they'll continue to cook a bit after you take them out of the water. The grocery I went to didn't have flounder, so I substituted tilapia. I didn't feel like purchasing rye flour for a single recipe, so I just used all purpose flour. Finally, unsure of the proper pronunciation of the dish's name, I've taken to affectionately calling it "schmorgesborg."


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