This weekend, I took a page from the book those hearty Scandinavians, who do winter with such flair. Delicious, open-faced smorgasbord sandwiches paired with hot soup was the lunch that welcomed us inside after clearing the latest snow from the walks and parking spots around our house.
This style of sandwich is often artfully assembled, topped with sprigs of herbs, small bits of pickle or red peppers, but they needn’t be delicate tea sandwiches. I’ve featured the very easy eggs-on-eggs ensemble here: sliced hard-boiled egg stacked on top of thinly sliced radishes and dabbed with inexpensive fish roe. A schmear of good butter, cream cheese or mayonnaise helps the toppings to stick to the whole-grain or rye bread underneath it all. In addition, a little fat makes the main ingredients shine without much added fuss.
Toast is apparently the next, post-cupcake, post-Cronut swing of the food-trend pendulum, so you can consider these tasty sandwiches as embellished toasts. They’re neither the immense Dagwood-style, triple-decker variety, nor the slathered peanut-butter-and-jelly type. They are a bit more sophisticated than tartines (the classic French bread snack, spread with just butter or jam), but not too elaborate. Notice they don’t depend on cheese either.
Open-faced sandwiches are appealing, simple and special at the same time, just right next to a bowl of chowder, tomato soup or other warming winter favorite. Make a variety all your own. Here are some other smorgasbord toppings to try:
- thinly sliced ham layered with cornichons
- dill and cucumber on top of smoked fish, herring or anchovies
- mashed cooked squash under thinly sliced kielbasa or dried sausage
- mashed avocado topped with browned mushrooms
- sprigs of dill, cilantro or watercress, sprinkled with chunky hazelnuts or walnuts
Yield: 2 open-faced sandwiches
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- 3-4 slices whole-grain or rye bread
- fish roe/caviar
- mayonnaise, cream cheese or butter
- 1 large radish (any variety) or small salad turnip, thinly
Toast bread. Spread on butter or mayonnaise as thickly as you like. Layer on radish slices and followed by egg slices, being careful not to over-pile. Dab on fish roe/caviar. Garnish with sprig of dill or cilantro, if desired.