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The Skagen Toast (Swedish Shrimp Toast)
History of Skagen toast
The delicious Skagen Toast is one of the quintessential Swedish foods, a popular appetizer in
both home and restaurant kitchens. Named after a fishing port town located in northern Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, it was created by famed Swedish restaurateur Tore Wretman in the years after World War II. You’ll find many renditions of this elegant and easy knife-and-fork, open-face toast—luckily, I’ve
never met one I haven’t liked. In my version of Skagenröra, the shrimp are bound with mayonnaise and crème fraîche, then punctuated with fresh dill, lemon (both the zest and juice), and whitefish roe.
Traditionally, the shrimp used in the creamy mixture (called Skagenröra) are small, sweet North Atlantic shrimp that are wild-caught and hand-shelled.
You can occasionally find such shrimp Stateside in the frozen aisle, but any small shrimp (sometimes called salad shrimp) in the 91–110 count per pound will do.
The Skagenröra is chilled in the refrigerator before being heaped upon slices of white bread that have been toasted with a bit of butter.—Hana Asbrink
Total preparation time 1 hour 40 minutes (includes refrigeration)
1⁄4 small bunch dill
1⁄4 medium red onion
12 oz. of frozen cooked peeled, deveined, tail-off small shrimp (preferably North
3 tbsp. of mayonnaise
2 tbsp. of crème fraîche1⁄4 tsp. of kosher salt and a bit
more freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. of unsalted
4 slices of white bread (such as Pepperidge Farm)
4 tsp. of bleak fish or whitefish roe (whichever you prefer)
PREPARATION OF DELICIOUS SKAGEN TOAST
1. Finely chop tender sprigs from 1⁄4 of small bunch dill to yield 1⁄4 cup.; place it in a large bowl. Set some larger sprigs aside for serving.
2. Finely chop 1⁄4 of medium red onion (you should have about 3 tbsp.) and add it to the bowl with the dill.
3. Thoroughly pat dry one 12 oz. bag of frozen cooked small shrimp, thawed, with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Coarsely chop half of the shrimp. Place all the shrimp in the bowl with the previous ingredients.
4. Using a Microplane, finely grated the zest of 1 lemon into a bowl, then cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half through your hand or a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; you should have 1 tbsp. Add lemon juice to bowl with shrimp and mix gently with a rubber spatula to combine.
Cut remaining lemon half into 4 wedges and set aside for serving.
5. Add 3 tbsp. mayonnaise, 2 tbsp. crème fraîche, and 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt to shrimp; mix gently to coat. Season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt if needed. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and cover.
Chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
6. When ready to serve toast, melt 2 tbsp. unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. As soon as the butter is sizzling, arrange 4 slices of white bread in pan and cook, turning a few times to allow both sides to absorb some butter, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
7. Transfer toast to plates and top with shrimp salad. Spoon 1 tsp. Bleak fish or whitefish roe (if using) over each toast and top with reserved dill leaves.
Serve with reserved lemon wedges for squeezing over.
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