It is a Nordic cross between cracker and bread (think matzah) made of rye flour. The Scandinavian poor have been eating it for centuries. The hearty crackers travel well and keep for months. This fact hints at crisp bread’s gastronomic charms. It is, in every way–appearance, texture, taste–a little like cardboard. The earliest form of crisp bread was probably carried into battle by the Vikings. That dates this food at at least 1000 years old.
Not to discourage you. Crisp bread makes a nutritious, hearty base to an open-faced sandwich. We weren’t feeling particularly respectful of Scandinavian customs when we topped our crispbread with Gravlox and cucumbers and caviar instead of the traditional shrimp salad and several tablespoons of mayonnaise. Yummy.
We rounded out our smorgasbord with another great appetizer: Swedish potato pancakes topped with creme fraiche and, yes, caviar. As you can see, we are heavily in denial about the recession.
– Angela M.
Crisp Bread with Gravlox and Cucumber
– 1 tbsp salted butter or cream cheese, room temperature
– 4 pieces crisp bread
– 1/2 seedless cucumber, sliced thin
– 4 oz. smoked salmon (Gravlox or Nova lox)
– Black caviar
– Sprig of fresh dill
Spread a thin layer of salted butter or cream cheese on each piece of crisp bread. Arrange 5 or 6 pieces of thinly sliced cucumber on the crisp bread, followed by 1 oz of smoked salmon. Garnish with a tsp of caviar and a sprig of fresh dill.
Swedish Potato Pancakes
– 2 pounds Russet potatoes
– 1 large egg
– 1/4 cup milk
– 1 tbsp chives, chopped
– Creme fraiche
– Black caviar
– Salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and submerge in cold water. Using a mandolin, jullienne the potatoes into thin strips. Squeeze excess liquid out of the jullienned potatoes using a tea towel or cheese cloth. Whisk together 1 egg and milk, combine with julliened potatoes and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into balls, about 2 tablespoons each. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Place the potato mixture in the pan, flatten with a spatula, and let cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Garnish with creme fraiche, caviar, and chives.