When Annette approached me with her idea of a cookbook project devoted to Danish food, and smushies in particular, she was so enthusiastic about it, it was contagious. And for good reason: these beautiful, delicious open-faced sandwiches with their rich heritage are also wonderfully customizable, flexible and adaptable. And there truly is a smushi for every palate.
We’ve talked a great deal since about the tremendous appeal. There are certain characteristics they possess that make them irresistible. It’s those characteristics I want to highlight in the next several blogs.
The first is that they’re just gorgeous. From their humble beginnings in Copenhagen, first as meat, cheese, and vegetables on bread , or smørrebrød, and later as the smaller version called smushies, they have evolved to be a thing of beauty. As such, presentation is key.
Danes take pride in their artful display of smushies, incorporating flourishes of curled cucumber slices, sprigs of parsley or dill, and tiny shrimp arranged just so. When Chef Kenn (one of our People We Love) gave us a master class in smushi-making, we were giddy with the anticipation of tasting the sandwiches he assembled so artistically. Just look at it!
A perfect smushi balances color, texture and proportion. We finish many smushies with black Hawaiian coarse salt because it beautifully offsets the oft-used white mayo, as well as adds incredible flavor and texture. Annette’s mom, Eva, loves to use radish slices to add a pop of red on top of yellow and white egg slices. As for proportion, when we have large slices of meat, such as roast beef, we like to top them with just a few fried onions and some lovely chopped green chives.
Taking pride in what we serve our families and our guests is healthy and important. It gives us a powerful incentive to try new recipes and reinvent old ones. When you can present a beautiful meal that’s devoured and talked about long after, it’s a great feeling!
And what would a smushi be if it weren’t full of perfectly delectable flavor combinations? Not a smushi! Stay tuned for that next post!
Happy New Year, all!