Norwegian Shrimp Salad (Rekesalat)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One of the things I liked about Norway when we were living there was the ample availability of shrimp. In the summer time, shrimping boats would dock at Aker Brygge and you could buy fresh shrimp, with heads and tails, freshly boiled in sea water (there is a picture of them here).


Smaller shrimp would be used in salads. Shrimp salads (rekesalater) would be sold in small tubs in grocery shops in a somewhat generic fashion - there was even a store brand version. But freshly made is always best.


I’ve spotted these smaller shrimp in a supermarket here recently, and couldn't resist.


Iterations of this salad would sometimes be made with a combination of mayonnaise and either crème fraîche or sour cream, along with fresh lemon juice. For herbs, dill is more common, although parsley is a good substitute. For crunch, a fresh or pickled cucumber is good. An egg may be added. Or it can be kept simple with just shrimp, mayonnaise, lemon juice and dill.


This salad is also great on an open-faced sandwich. Open-faced sandwiches are common in Scandinavia and can be as simple as a slice of brown cheese or liver pâté (leverpostei) on bread, or elaborate, with many different toppings (a sandwich topping is called pålegg in Norwegian, which literally means to "put on").


An open-faced sandwich is called smørbrød in Norwegian, or literally buttered bread. I remember bread there always being good, filling, baked fresh daily, with real hearty crust, and delicious with just a smear of butter - an actual smørbrød.


Although we've been back for some time now, we often use BN (before Norway) and AN (after Norway) as temporal reference points. Among things in the latter category has been the adoption of Hannes, our third cat, who it turns out is also impartial to shrimp. He likes to beg for it saying things like "murf" and "huff" until he gets it, and may have been the real reason why I couldn't resist getting the shrimp.


Norwegian Shrimp Salad
(Rekesalat med majones og snackagurk)
Serves 2

You will need:
1/2 cup small salad shrimp, cooked and peeled
1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
1 tsp finely chopped parsley or dill
1 tsp finely chopped scallion
1/4 tsp capers (optional)
fresh lemon juice to taste
2 tsp mayonnaise, crème fraîche or sour cream
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, cucumber, parsley/dill, scallion and capers. Add the mayonnaise (or crème fraîche or sour cream if using). Mix to combine. Sprinkle to taste with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate to chill until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: serve as an open-faced sandwich on good, hearty bread with thin avocado slices, topped with the salad.

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