Prawns on Toast

Toast Skagen

Swedish style prawns on toast (Toast Skagen)
Above: Toast Skagen garnished with Kalix löjrom

Toast Skagen (prawns/shrimps on toast) is an absolute classic and has come to symbolise elegance in Swedish food. It was created by a popular Swedish restaurateur, Tore Wretman, just after the second world war and named after a fishing port in Denmark.

The prawn (shrimp) mixture is called Skagenröra (Skagen mix). Essentially the prawns are mixed with mayonnaise, gräddfil (a bit like soured cream) and some seasoning. The choice of seasoning varies somewhat with tabasco, grated horseradish or brandy being the most common.

A dish of unshelled prawns

Toast Skagen is popular in restaurants all over Sweden. Often they advertise that they are using handskalade räkor (hand shelled prawns). It is a big selling point because all Swedes are convinced that it really doesn’t matter whether the prawns are fresh or frozen, but they must be shelled by hand. Sadly, unscrupulous restaurateurs often use prawns that have been shelled using cheap labour in Poland and transported to Sweden in brine, wiping out the benefits!

Shelling prawns is frankly quite tedious, so when I am shelling I have to keep reminding myself that the flavour will be much better. It is true, so do try and find the time to shell the prawns yourself! John Duxbury

Summary

Recipe summary for toast Skagen

Tips

• Traditionally Skagenröra is served with a big dollop of roe. As it is an acquired taste, not always appreciated by Brits, the amount of caviar (roe) suggested below is about half the quantity that Swedes would tend to use.
• For a real treat for caviar (roe) lovers, serve the prawns (shrimps) with Kalix löjrom (caviar from Kalix) which is available in the UK from specialist shops and online.
• Instead of brandy you could use a few drops of tabasco or ½ tablespoon of freshly grated horseradish.
• Of course the bread can be toasted, instead of fried, if you prefer!
Skagenröra also makes a nice drinktilltugg (cocktail snack) when served on small pieces of dark rye bread or toast.
• For a nice light lunch, serve a double portion or use the Skagenröra as a topping for a jacket potato.

Ingredients

450 g (1 lb) fresh or frozen prawns (shrimps) with shells on
60 ml (4 tbsp) mayonnaise
60 ml (4 tbsp) gräddfil or soured cream
½ tsp   brandy or cognac
pinch   salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp   finely chopped dill
4   slices of white bread, preferably sourdough
25 g (2 tbsp) butter
40 g (4 tsp)  caviar (roe), optional
4   lemon wedges
4   dill sprigs, for garnish

Method

1. Shell the prawns and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Keep them cold until required.

Skagenröra mixture in a bowl

2. Mix the mayonnaise, gräddfil or soured cream, brandy (or freshly grated horseradish as shown above), chopped dill, salt and freshly ground white pepper. Keep the mixture cold until required.

Fried bread for Toast Skagen

3. Ten minutes or so before serving, melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the bread slices and fry until golden brown on both sides.

4. Just before serving, add some of the sauce to the prawns (shrimps) until you have a nice consistency (you might not need it all).

Swedish Skagenröra on toast and garnish with Kalix löjrom
(This is a double portion served as a light lunch.)

5. Serve the prawn (shrimp) mixture piled on top of the fried bread and garnish with a dollop of caviar (roe), a sprig of dill and a lemon wedge.

Downloads

  printer version.pdf

  phone & tablet version.pdf

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John Duxbury
Editor and Founder