Sweden. Home to a great variety of excellent metal bands, as well as a great variety of sophisticated food. In this post I would like to present a fine example of both. It will be one of my favourite Swedish recipes that I learned from my host in Stockholm some years ago and that I prepare semi-regularly ever since. I like it because it is extremely simple to prepare yet super-delicious. Toast Skagen is a combination of prawns and a fresh sour cream sauce piled on top of a piece of sautéed bread. It is a light and tasty starter or side dish, but, providing you have a plenty supply of small prawns available, it can easily become a light main course as you will hardly be able to stop eating until all of it is gone. Not the cheapest food you will make in your life, and I am also full aware that it it in sharp contrast with the hearty meals that have been presented on this blog so far. Nevertheless, you will not regret to try it. Save it for special occasions.
- 400g cleaned small prawns
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 dl sour cream
- red or yellow, large roe (e.g. salmon caviar)
- zest and juice of half lemon
- 1/2 medium or large red onion
- freshly ground black pepper
- sea salt
- fresh dill
- 6 thick slices of white square bread
- unsalted butter for toasting
If you have fresh, raw prawns available that’s the best, but if you can only get your hands on frozen, put it in a bowl of water and let it slowly unfreeze. Meanwhile you can prepare the sour cream sauce and put it aside so the flavours can blend well while the prawns unfreeze.
The sour cream sauce
Very finely chop the red onion. Grate off the zest of half lemon (it is easier to do while the lemon is still in whole).
As for the sour cream, it is better to avoid the low-fat versions as they tend to be very thin and liquid. You need the thickest one possible. Mix the sour cream and olive oil, squeeze in the juice of half lemon, and add the lemon zest, some freashly ground black pepper and a few pinches of sea salt, to taste. Chop a generous amount of fresh dill in small, but don’t use all you have – set aside a few untouched, whole leaves for decoration. Add in the chopped dill and red onions and mix the ingredients thoroughly.
If you use fresh, raw prawns, remove their tail and shell if they are not already cleaned, then melt equal amount of olive oil and unsalted butter in a pan, just so it forms a thin layer on the bottom. Add in the prawn and cook them until pink while turning them occasionally.
In case you use pre-cooked, cleaned frozen prawns, wait until they unfreeze and transfer them info the bowl of sour cream sauce and mix it together. If you are concerned about their sterility, you can heat them up quickly beforehand in a pan on some olive oil.
Cut thick slices of the white square bread and cut out the middle with a glass or mug fitting in size. Remove the round bread coins from the edges.
Clean the pan, then melt enough unsalted butter to cover the bottom. Drop in the round bread slices and toast each size, until they are brown and soak themselves up with butter. If needed, add more butter during the process.
Putting it together
Place the toasted bread on a plate and cover the top with a thick layer of the prawn and sour cream sauce mix.
Add a generous topping of salmon caviar (or other large roe you can find) and decorate it with whole dill leaves.
The listed amount of ingredients should be enough for 6-10 toasts, depending on size.
Fine music with a fine meal
My choice of music with this fine food, of course, could only be from a fine Swedish band, Arch Enemy. This excellent melodic death metal band from Halmstad, Sweden went through quite a transformation in 2014 as their former lead singer Angela Gossow left the band and was replaced by the awesome Canadian vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, formerly the lead vocalist of Canadian band The Agonist. And an excellent choice she was. As we saw back when she was singing in The Agonist, her undestroyable vocal cords are capable of both fantastic melodic singing and excellent, powerful growling and she can switch between the two with such an ease that we can only stand in awe in front of it. She debuted in Arch Enemy with their latest album, War Ethernal, from which I selected the song for this meal.
Enjoy your Skagen with You Will Know My Name!