Whenever I am in Minneapolis, I make a point of visiting the American Swedish Institute. Part museum and part cultural center, the ASI offers a glimpse inside the historic home of Swan and Christina Turnblad, Swedish immigrants who settled in Minnesota in the late 1800's. Attached to this grand mansion is the Nelson Cultural Center, a sleek, modern building that houses exhibition space, a gift shop, classrooms and Fika, the institute's delightful Nordic-inspired cafe.
The last time I had lunch at Fika, I ordered a delicious open face sandwich (called smørrebrød in Danish and smörgås in Swedish) that inspired this recipe. Dense rye topped with buttery salmon, creamy mustard dill sauce and diced pickled beets, this sandwich is a dinner-worthy affair that is deceptively simple to prepare. The mustard sauce comes together in a snap while the salmon roasts in the oven, and the whole thing can be on the table in less than half an hour. I may not be able to visit the ASI or Fika as often as I would like, but I can whip this sandwich together on a Tuesday night for a quick (and delicious) Nordic fix. Thank you, Fika, for all of the delicious lunches I've enjoyed over the years and for the ongoing culinary inspiration. I'll be back soon!
Roasted Salmon Smørrebrød with Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce and Pickled Beets
For the Smørrebrød:
- 4 this slices of dense rye bread
- Butter for spreading
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 small salmon filets skin-on is fine
- Olive or canola oil for drizzling and brushing
- A few handfuls of watercress baby arugula or spinach would be a fine substitute
- Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce recipe follows
- Spicy Pickled Beets for serving
- Fresh dill for serving
For the Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil or canola oil
- 1 shallot minced fine
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and brush with olive or canola oil. Don’t bother to brush the pan with oil if you are using skin-on filets. Set aside.
- Place salmon filets, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and roast until done to your liking. (I like mine just cooked all the way through which will take about 10-12 minutes).
- Meanwhile, make the Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce: Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot, reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until soft, 1-2 minutes.
- Add white wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add mustard, cream and water. Simmer until thickened slightly, 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add fresh dill.
- Arrange bread slices on your work surface. Butter the bread.
- Add a handful of watercress to each slice of bread.
- Remove salmon from the baking sheet, leaving the skin behind if necessary by coming between the salmon and the skin with a thin metal spatula. It should come up quite easily. Place a salmon filet on top of watercress on each slice of bread.
- Artfully arrange a generous dollop of mustard sauce and a spoonful of pickled beets around or on top of the salmon. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve immediately.