Are you suffering from a food hangover? No worries. You’ve made it this far, cruising through Thanksgiving, holiday parties, and now Christmas. Just a few more days to go before the New Year, and then you can look forward to a diet respite. In the meantime, here is a quick fix: a Danish-inspired open-face sandwich. Clean, fresh and minimal, this is Danish design on a plate. It’s a perfect antidote to holiday excess, yet sufficiently decorative and pretty to look at during the festive season.
Not only is this open-face sandwich healthy and low in fat, it’s seasonally appropriate. The Danes are famous for smørrebrød, or open-face sandwiches. Eaten year round, smørrebrød makes a special appearance at the Danish holiday table, where they are an important first course in the culinary marathon otherwise known as the Christmas Lunch. Christmas Lunch is a bit of a misnomer, as it applies to multiple days preceding and following Christmas Day and may happen at lunch or dinner. Whenever it may fall, rest assured there will be numerous courses accompanied by beer and shnapps and no room for any more food that day.
Now, don’t be afraid. While the Danes view smørrebrød as one course of many, for our sake, I present you with a Shrimp and Dill Open-Face Sandwich as a light and refreshing dietary interlude. Enjoy this for lunch or as light dinner while you pace yourselves to the New Year. And if you must accompany it with a jigger of akavit, go ahead. After all, it’s the holidays.
Shrimp and Dill Open-Face Sandwich
Bay shrimp are a good substitution for the tiny fjord shrimp typically used for this recipe in Denmark. Makes 2 smørrebrød.
2 slices french loaf bread, 1/2 inch thick
Lightly salted European-style butter
2 large Boston lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves
1/4 pound bay shrimp
4 tablespoons creme fraiche or Greek style whole milk yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper
Spread each bread slice with butter. Cover with a lettuce leaf. Arrange shrimp in rows on lettuce. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons yogurt over shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with dill sprigs and serve with a lemon wedge.