First and foremost, a very Happy New Year to all!
Last year, Heather and I had the great fortunes of attending a wedding in a small town outside of Copenhagen. In addition to celebrating the occasion with incredibly fun Danish wedding traditions, we were able to explore and really discover the fantastic and famous food culture of Denmark.
One of the most fun staples of this food culture is the art of the smørrebrød, or open-faced sandwich, one of the most iconic of which is the fiskefilet med remoulade.
What Is Smørrebrød?
Smørrebrød is one of the most famous traditions and staples of Danish cuisine. The concept of the modern smørrebrød came to prominence during the 19th century, when agricultural laborers would repurpose their previous night’s leftovers and combine it with a slice of highly nutritious Danish rugbrød to give them the fuel needed to carry them through the long workday.
Over time, the smørrebrød evolved into more than just an efficient way to have a nutritious lunch. Soon, high-end restaurants like Restaurant Nimb in the heart of Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens began offering decadent smørrebrød toppings that made it into more of a sophisticated lunch offering.
At this point towards the end of the 19th century, the smørrebrød became commonplace for just about any Danish meal and during any time of the year. Even in the holiday season, where most other food cultures might have “special holiday recipes” or more seasonal food, smørrebrød with toppings like fiskefilet are still a very important addition to any special holiday meal!
The beauty about the smørrebrød lies in the flexibility to be creative with the toppings and spreads that go on top of the staple Danish rye bread. Whether it be cold cuts or roast beef or fiskefilet – the recipe we explored for this post – the possibilities are endless!
About this Fiskefilet med Remoulade Recipe
Before diving into the nuances of making the fiskefilet, it’s important to cover the quick basics to assembling this fiskefilet med remoulade smørrebrød.
At the base of the smørrebrød has to be a slice of rye bread. The Danish version of this rye bread, the rugbrød we alluded to earlier, is generally darker and slightly more sour than its counterparts from other Scandinavian and Northern European cuisines. Health-wise, rugbrød is a fantastic source of dietary fiber and key nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B1.
It’s pretty common to spread a thin layer of butter or another type of spread over the rugbrød before the topping. From there, especially in the case of fiskefilet med remoulade, you add a leaf or two of lettuce to the sandwich as well.
And now comes the main attractions: the fiskefilet and the remoulade. Fiskefilet is quite simply a lightly coated and fried filet of fish. The most traditional and ideal type of fish to use is a fish called plaice, but it might be a little tough to find that exact fish in your local grocery store (it was for us). Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to use another type of lean white fish instead, like a flounder or cod or sole.
On top of the filet then comes the remoulade, which is most traditionally a cream-based sauce made with ingredients like creme fraiche, dill, and lemon juice. Finally, the fiskefilet and remoulade are topped with a lemon wedge or slice, which can be squeezed to give added citrus goodness to the finished product.
Our Take on the Recipe
As we mentioned before, the beauty of the smørrebrød and recipes like fiskefilet med remoulade is the ability to get creative and to flexibly change the style of the recipe. Using this original reference recipe as inspiration, we certainly did get creative and flexibly changed our own recipe for both the fiskefilet and remoulade.
In lieu of breading our flounder filets with regular flour and frying, we opted to make a healthier breading option by mixing and grounding chickpea flour, flaxseeds and rolled oats together. We chose chickpea flour because it is a fantastic source of protein while still having the flourlike consistency. The flaxseeds are a great source of good Omega 3 fats and some antioxidants, while the rolled oats also were a great source of nutrients like manganese and gave the coating a distinct added flavor to the fiskefilet.
Our remoulade recipe, like our reference, swapped the usual creme fraiche base for a slightly healthier Greek yogurt option. We personally added plenty of extra ingredients to our own recipe – including spices like cumin and cayenne to give it an extra kick – but these remain purely optional and largely dependent on your own tastes and preferences. Again, that’s the beauty of these types of smørrebrød recipes!
Other than that, the construction of this fiskefilet med remoulade smørrebrød was very straightforward and took as little as 20 minutes to put together.
Especially with several hearty extra spoonfuls of remoulade and toppings like capers and lettuce, this recipe was like a gift that kept on giving through several meals.
Do you have your own fiskefilet med remoulade smørrebrød recipe? Comment below!
- 1 pound flounder filets, cut into 8 filet pieces (that can fit onto one piece of rye bread)
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- ¼ cup rolled oats, coarsely ground
- ¼ flaxseed, coarsely ground
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt 1%
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 handfuls chopped fresh parsley
- 4 cornichons (French pickles), very finely diced
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional Ingredients
- ½ cucumber (or 1 Persian cucumber)
- 2 tablespoons anchovy paste or finely chopped anchovies
- 2 handfuls finely chopped fresh tarragon
- ½ coarsely grated apple
- 1 coarsely grated carrot
- 1 teaspoon sugar (coconut sugar)
- Spice like turmeric, cumin, paprika, cayenne
- Combine all ingredients for the remoulade into a large bowl. Place in the fridge to let the flavors mingle together. The remoulade will only get better with time!
- Grind and mix the chickpea flour, rolled oats, flaxseed and seasonings into a coarse meal that will coat the flounder for frying. Place into a shallow dish or bowl
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and set next to the batter mix
- Set the flounder filets next to the beaten egg bowl to have your "assembly line" to dredge and coat the filets
- Dip a filet in the egg batter and coat well. Pull out and let excess egg mixture drip prior to bringing to batter
- Coat the filet thoroughly in batter and place onto another plate. Repeat for all filets
- Add plenty of frying oil (we used coconut oil) to a large saucepan or skillet. Once the pan and oil are hot and bubble, place the filets into the pan and fry for at least 1 minute on each side. The goal is to fry each side until golden brown
- Once golden brown, remove each filet and put on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil
- Take a piece of rye bread (preferably Danish rugbrod and toasted), and coat with a layer of butter or mustard and a slice of lettuce. Place the filet on the lettuce with a hearty scoop of remoulade
- Additional condiments or garnishes could include: tomatoes, lemon slices, capers, etc.