Nordic Open Faced Smoked Salmon Sandwiches are exquisitely delicate and healthy ~ this is clean eating that that also happens to be insanely delicious.
This is a complete change of pace for me. Not only because I’ve been immersed in wintery comfort foods for so long, but also because I rarely venture into the world of Nordic cuisine. It’s been in the public eye in the last few years, partly because of Danish chef and restauranteur René Redzepi. He’s singlehandedly reinvigorated Scandinavian cuisine with clean, lean, innovative dishes that he presents with exquisite simplicity. His creative menus utilize fresh, local foods, foraged from nearby woods and waters, and he has become one of the most influential chefs in the world.
These Nordic smoked salmon open sandwiches are an homage to that spare, cutting-edge style, but funnily enough, they also look like they’d be right at home at a turn of the century tea party. They’re ideal for spring entertaining…wedding and baby showers, Easter brunch, Passover, or just your first picnic of the season. They’re basically spring on a plate–and couldn’t we all use a little bit of that on this last day of February?
The layers on these Nordic smoked salmon sandwiches are built up with an eye toward color and texture. To start, the thinly-sliced dark pumpernickel bread gets a quick toasting in the oven, then a lashing of freshly made dill mayonnaise. I used my favorite quick and easy method, which you can read about in the original 30 SECOND MAYO post— and I added a handful of dill for color and lots of grassy spring flavor.
The mayo itself is worth the price of admission, you can use it on regular sandwiches, make deviled eggs with it, or use it as the base for tuna and chicken salads.
These open faced sandwiches are just as much about aesthetics as it is about taste. I topped each layered sandwich with an edible flower just for fun, but also because that is part of the Nordic foraging sensibility. There are lots to choose from, including nasturtiums, pansies, roses, violets, and marigolds, just to name a few of the more common ones. Micro-greens are also perfect for this kind of application because they are so small, they fit perfectly on the little slices of bread without overwhelming them.
You should be able to find the thin bread, usually imported, in the bread aisle, but ask if you have trouble. This kind of ultra thinly sliced and dense bread is essential to these sandwiches, don’t try to substitute regular bread, it just won’t be the same.
I’ve made these Nordic smoked salmon sandwiches quite dainty, but if you want to make these heartier, use goat or cream cheese in place of the mayo, and maybe add some thinly sliced red onion, or a slice of boiled egg along with the salmon. Obviously this concept is meant to be played with. Thinly sliced cold steak would be amazing — just add creamed horseradish, onion, or delicate fried shallots for a completely different experience. Mmmmm, I just talked myself into trying that one.
I am super inspired by Nordic food these days. If you are, too, check our my roundup of 20 NORDIC RECIPES TO TRY RIGHT NOW!
I use my Immersion blender a lot in my kitchen. I have always used it to blend soups etc. right in the pot, but I have to say that ever since I discovered how easy it is to make mayo, dressings, and sauces, it’s become one of my most beloved tools. It’s not expensive, it’s very easy to clean because the top screws right off for rinsing, and it has a solid, heavy feel to it.
- thinly sliced pumpernickel or rye bread, sometimes called cocktail bread
- butter at room temperature
- homemade dilled mayonnaise (recipe below)
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- thin slices of smoked salmon
- edible flowers
- lemon for garnish
- 1 pastuerized egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup mildly flavored olive oil, also room temperature
- a handful of fresh dill
- salt and pepper to taste
- a squeeze of lemon
- Set oven to 400F
- Cut the slices of bread into smaller rectangles. You can make them bite sized, if you like. Spread a very thin layer of soft butter on each slice and toast in the oven for a few minutes until they just start to get crisp. This step is optional, you can also use the bread un-toasted.
- Spread a little dilled mayonnaise onto each slice of bread, then top that with a slice of smoked salmon.
- Add microgreens, and then season with a little salt and pepper. Garnish with an edible flower, and serve with small wedges of lemon.
- To make the homemade mayonnaise: Put the room temperature egg, oil and dill in a jar just large enough to fit an immersion blender. Put the blender down to the bottom of the jar, and turn it on, slowly raising the blade as it emulsifies the mixture. This will only take about 30 seconds. Once it turns to mayo, stop the blending. You can then stir in the salt and pepper, and a little lemon juice, if you like.
Make it your own ~
- Mayo: See my original 30-SECOND MAYO post for more detailed step by step instructions on how to make your own mayonnaise. You could substitute tarragon, chives, or really any herb you like for a completely different flavor. I just make sure to use a pasteurized egg which is safe to eat raw. Of course if you don’t want to make the homemade mayonnaise, just add plenty of fresh chopped dill to jarred mayo.
- Flowers: There are lots of edible flowers–many of which you can find in your grocery store, garden center, or even your backyard! Check out my post on HOW TO EAT FLOWERS for more information. Just be careful to avoid any blossoms that have been sprayed or treated with chemicals.
- Microgreens: Here I’m using micro kale, but there are all sorts of micro greens available these days, and each one has a slightly different flavor. (Psst: more about micro greens and how to use them HERE!)