A Smörgåsbord from Sweden

Historically in Sweden, the growing season was short and harsh weather conditions made it difficult to transport produce for much of the year. With the advent of better transportation, chefs now experiment with mixing standard Swedish cooking and ingredients with imported, adventurous techniques. EU membership dramatically opened up trade and immigration in the previously isolated country, resulting in a more mixed population and a welcome influx of new flavors. Almost 1 million of Sweden’s 9 million inhabitants are first- or second-generation immigrants. 

 Smörgåsbord (See To-Table Swedish Ingredients)

The Smorgasbord is Sweden's most internationally renowned culinary tradition. The word smorgasbord is broken down to smorgas, meaning open-faced sandwich and bord, meaning table. The modern Smorgasbord originated in the 1700s as a tradition of serving appetizers and spirits prior to the meal of the upper class. Appetizers included cheese, bread, butter, herring, salmon, Swedish meatballs, potatoes and other foods. The Smorgasbord (called julbord at Christmas) morphed from appetizer to main meal and began to include both warm and cold dishes. Today the Smorgasbord is a buffet-style meal with a variety of foods placed on a serving table together at the same time, so diners can help themselves.

Here are some of the key items for your Smorgasbord:


  1. In a large skillet cook the onions in 2 tbsp of the butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until they are golden.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. In a buttered 2 1/2- 3 quart shallow baking dish (13x9 works well), layer 1/3 of the potatoes, 1/2 of the onions, 1/2 of the chopped anchovies, salt and pepper to taste, 1/3 potatoes, 1/2 onions, 1/2 of the chopped anchovies, salt and pepper to taste, last third of potatoes.
  4. Drizzle the top of potatoes with the reserved oil from the anchovy can (about 2 tbsp.) and dot them with the remaining 1 tbsp of butter cut into bits.
  5. Bake the casserole on the middle rack for 10 minutes.
  6. Pour 3/4 cup of the cream over the potatoes and bake the casserole for 20 minutes more.
  7. Pour the remaining cream over the casserole, reduce heat to 300, and bake for 30 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender.
  8. Great served with anything that goes well with a potato side dish.



  1. Peel, rinse and grate the raw potatoes into a bowl of very cold water. 
  2. Drain grated potato in a colander and using your hands, press as much moisture out as possible. Cover with a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and one cup of the milk to make a smooth batter.
  4. Add the grated onion, eggs and remaining milk, if needed to make a slightly thin batter. Whisk until combined.
  5. Stir the grated potato into the batter.
  6. Heat griddle or large frying pan to about 350°F and rub the griddle with a thin coat of canola oil
  7. When oil is hot, pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the griddle and cook until golden on the bottom. Flip pancake over and cook until golden on that side.
  8. Serve with sour cream & chives or lingonberry jam and fried pork jowl bacon.



  • 12 cups red wine
  • 12 cups port
  • 12 cups vodka
  • 6 pods green cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 peel of orange
  • 1-2 sticks cinnamon
  • Blanched almonds, sliced
  • Brown raisins
Combine wine, port, and vodka in a small nonreactive pot. Add cardamom, cloves, orange peel, and cinnamon and gently warm (do not allow to boil) over low heat. Allow glögg to steep for 20 minutes (the longer the better).
To serve, place a few pieces of almonds and a few raisins in a heatproof glass or cup and ladle in glögg.

Swedish Meatballs

  • 12 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices (about 3 oz.) crustless white bread, torn into small pieces
  • 12 oz. ground pork
  • 12 oz. ground beef
  • 14 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 12 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • Lingonberry preserves, for serving
Make the meatballs: Place 12 cup cream and bread in a small bowl; let sit until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl along with pork, beef, allspice, egg, and onion, season with salt and pepper, and mix until evenly combined. Shape mixture into about thirty 1-oz. balls, about 1″ in diameter. Heat remaining butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat; working in batches, add meatballs and cook, turning as needed, until browned all over and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to a plate and set aside.
Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add flour, and cook, stirring, until smooth and light brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk in beef stock until smooth, and then bring to a boil; stir in remaining cream and return meatballs to gravy. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring gently, until meatballs are warmed through, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Serve meatballs and gravy over mashed potatoes and garnish with a generous dollop of lingonberry preserves.


In a small food processor, pulse peppercorns, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds until coarsely ground; combine with salt and sugar. Stretch plastic wrap over a plate; sprinkle with half the salt mixture. Place salmon filet on top, flesh side up. Cover with remaining salt mixture, dill sprigs, and aquavit.
Fold plastic wrap ends around salmon; wrap tightly with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate the fish on the plate for 48-72 hours, turning the package every 12 hours and using your fingers to redistribute the herb-and-spice-infused brine that accumulates as the salt pulls moisture from the salmon. The gravlax should be firm to the touch at the thickest part when fully cured.
Unwrap salmon, discarding the spices, dill, and brine. Rinse the filet under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large plate with the chopped dill. Firmly press the flesh side of the gravlax into the dill to coat it evenly.
Place gravlax skin side down on a board. With a long, narrow-bladed knife (use a granton slicer if you have one; the divots along the blade make for smoother, more uniform slices), slice gravlax against grain, on the diagonal, into thin pieces. Serve with mustard-dill sauce or on knackebrod with minced onion. Refrigerate any remaining gravlax, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks.

GUBBRÖRA (egg–anchovy salad)

6 eggs
2 egg yolks
2–3 tbs Kalles Kaviar
4 oz spice-cured anchovy filets
1 small bunch of parsley
1 small bunch of dill
1 bunch of chives
Dark Rye Bread Slices
Hard boil the eggs, remove the shells and chop them up. Place in a bowl together with the egg yolks and Kalles Kaviar (creamed, smoked cod roe with oil, which comes in a tube). Mix them together. Chop the anchovy filets and blend in. Cut the dill and chives very finely, and chop the parsley. Mix everything together and serve cold, shaped like a small steak tartare and preferably on a slice of coarse dark rye bread.


Cut off the crusts of the bread slices. Sauté the bread golden brown on both sides in a little butter. Place on paper towels. If the prawns are large, cut them into smaller pieces. Save four sprigs of dill for garnishes. Finely chop the rest of the dill and mix with the prawns, mayonnaise and mustard. Apportion the mixture on the slices of sautéd bread. Shape the whitefish roe like eggs and place on top of each toast. Garnish each with a sprig of dill and serve with a slice of lemon.


  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 small golden beets, roasted, peeled, and cut into disks
  • 3 small red beets, roasted, peeled, and cut into disks
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced, preferably on a mandoline
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced

In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, 2 cups of water, sugar, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place golden beets, red beets, onion, and cucumber in separate lidded, heatproof containers. Divide boiling liquid among containers; cool to room temperature. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Other items to consider:

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