May 17, 2011

17th of May

These days my neighborhood is primarily Italian,  but rewind a couple of decades and you'd see a very different picture.  A few blocks over from where I live now used to be Scandinavian, specifically Norwegian.   The streets used to be lined with Norwegian bakeries, stores, restaurants, etc. but unfortunately the majority of these have disappeared.  However, all is not lost...  every year there is a 17th of May parade, which is a national holiday in Norway marking the signing of their constitution and the best part (besides the food) are the people dressed in traditional clothing showing off their Norwegian pride.

photos courtesy of Keith Alexander

Norwegian food is very subtle and delicate in its flavors and I have been lucky enough to have been exposed to some of its more delicious offerings.

One of my favorite things are Norwegian sandwiches,  it may sound simple and not too exciting but they are delicious!  There are classic sandwiches that all Norwegians are familiar with, but the combinations are virtually endless so it gives you a chance to get your creative juices flowing if you feel like changing it up a bit.

To make Norwegian sandwiches:

You'll need very thin sandwich bread, like the one pictured above, the first step in EVERY sandwich is spreading a thin layer of butter on the bread.   See,  we're off to a great start already!

Next, you choose your toppings.  Norwegian sandwiches are open-faced,  so presentation counts.

Here are a few of my personal fav's:    1. Gjetost (Norwegian cheese), this cheese is almost sweet and caramelly.  I know it sounds like an odd description for cheese, but it is unbelievable.
2. Liverwurst and Sweet Relish
3. Hard-Boiled Egg and Dill
4. Roast Beef and Jarlsberg
5. Ham and Mayo with Dill

the perfect light supper

These meatballs are absolutely superb!

Norsk Meatballs
1/2 lb ground chuck
1/2 lb ground pork
1/4 lb ground veal
1" slice of bread
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
3 TB chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of allspice
salt & pepper

-Soak bread in water for 5 minutes.  Mix well with rest of ingredients and shape into balls.  Fry in butter (with a little oil).  Add 2 cups beef stock (or broth) and simmer 15-20 minutes.
-recipe courtesy of Elsa Berg

Although I am not Norwegian (however the Vikings did land in my father's who knows) it is fun to partake in the neighborhood festivities and enjoy the celebration.
Happy Syttende Mai!

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