Of Sweden and Sandwiches

By now, most of you have probably read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Yes, the book is about tracking and catching a mad man and solving a family mystery, however, as the story unfolded, I found myself thinking, “Man, these people eat A LOT of sandwiches.” Enough times that I noticed. Enough times that I counted (18 times in the first book—thank you Kindle word search). What are these magical Swedish sandwiches?

I did some digging, including sending an email to a friend who has spent some time living in Norway–another sandwich loving Scandinavian country. Turns out that sandwiches, or smörgåsar in Swedish, consist primarily of a single slice of bread, often dark rye, and a variety of toppings from seafood, to veggies, to spreads. My friend informed me that in Norway, “all the things that go on top are called, collectively, pålegg, which means ‘lay on top.’ Awesome, right?”

Yup, awesome. I decided to try out a few smörgås recipes on my own, relying only on what I had on hand.

Happily, I had a tube of crab spread in the fridge (the result of an impulse-buy during my last trip to Ikea), so at least one of my smörgås had genuine Swedish seafood paste involved. All of these were made on wheat bread because I don’t like rye (sorry Sweden!) Here is what I made:

Smörgås #1 – The Ikea: Sliced Cucumber and Crab Spread

The saltiness of the crab spread was offset nicely by the crispy and watery cucumber. Unfortunately, it turns out I don’t like crab spread, so this one wasn’t my favorite.

 

Smörgås #2 – The Pantry: Lettuce, Chopped Egg, Capers and Mayo

This one was easy to put together, as I tend to have all of the ingredients on hand and none of them necessitate a trip to a Swedish furniture store. The briny tang of the capers really was the best part of this sandwich, which was like a deconstructed egg salad.

Smörgås #3 – The Apple Pie: Granny Smith Apples, Peanut Butter, Honey and Cinnamon

This one has zero Scandinavian influence, but came to me as I was looking through the pantry for the jar of capers and had to reach past the peanut butter and the honey. It was a sweet end to my smörgåsbord.

 

So there you have it, a little taste of what it is like to be Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Well, at least what it is like to eat like them. And if you are wondering: yes, Billy’s Pan Pizza is real. But that is for another post.

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