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 mixture is also called Skagenröra (Skagen mix) or räkröra (prawn 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 eastern Europe 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


Recipe summary for toast Skagen


Lacy potato pancakes with prawns in a dill sauce

Skagenröra on rårakor (lacy potato pancakes) or jacket potatoes makes an excellent lunch.
• Traditionally, toast skagen is served with a big dollop of caviar (roe), ideally Kalix löjrom (Caviar of Kalix). 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.
• 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!
• For a lower calories version, use 60 ml (4 tbsp) of half-fat crème fraîche in place of the mayonnaise and gräddfil listed below.


200 g (7 oz) prawns (shrimps), shelled weight
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


1. Shell the prawns and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Keep them cold until required. (If using shelled prawns, drain them thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen towel.)

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.


  printer version.pdf

  phone & tablet version.pdf

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