The Norwegian Open-Faced Sandwich

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Norwegians eat everything with utensils.  I'm talking hamburgers, pizza, french fries and sandwiches; yes, they are all eaten with a knife and fork.  Have you ever eaten a hamburger piled high with fixings with a knife and a fork?  It's not easy.

Utensils make sense for the Norwegian Smørbrød.  This open-faced sandwich is found everywhere in Norway.  The sandwich is generally one piece of homemade bread with mayonnaise, aioli or butter and an array of meats, cheese and vegetables piled on top.  Smoked salmon is common as is beef, shrimp and your standard, processed lunch meat.  Higher end restaurants and cafés will get creative, offering unique and quality ingredients but simpler options are always available at buffets and cafeterias.  In fact,  the sandwich section at Joe's office cafeteria is the most popular.  Loaves of bread sit where one can slice off a piece and then small plates with different toppings can be chosen to make one to your liking.

I can't get enough of these sandwiches.  My favourite to date was found in the Spring at a local restaurant - delicious homemade bread with a healthy layer of garlic aioli was topped with fresh greens, red onion and perfectly tender slices of beef cooked to medium sat on top.  Following in a close second position would be one I threw together for dinner last week.

Inspired by this Bruschetta Chicken recipe, I decided to make my own smørbrød.

Bruschetta Chicken Smørbrød


6 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
handful of fresh basil, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

-Mix all ingredients together in bowl, cover and put in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the sandwich.  There will be enough to make 3-4 sandwiches.


2 (or however many you need) chicken breasts
good bread (I used an organic, whole wheat with grains loaf but anything will do)
aioli or mayonnaise
salt & pepper

-Season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper and cook completely.  I used my tenderizer to flatten them out a bit to help them cook more evenly and then cooked them in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil.  BBQing would be great too.  
-Slice and lightly toast the bread.  I like to slice the loaf on an angle making the pieces longer and I toast them in the oven on broil.
-To assemble the sandwich, spread the aioli on the bread followed by a couple of pieces of crisp lettuce, the cooked chicken and finally, the bruschetta.
-I served it with a small side salad but it is great on it's own too.
-Consumed the Norwegian way - with a knife and fork!

Bon appétit.


Joe and I are off on another adventure so I might be a bit slow to respond.  You're more than welcome to follow along on Instagram!


  1. Sandwich looks really yummy! Though as a Norwegian I must say that I would never ever ever eat a hamburger with a knife and a fork. Nor a normal sandwich. Only if it is gigantic and can't be eaten any other way!

    1. That's funny Malin - I always feel so awkward if I try to eat with my hands as literally NO ONE ELSE does it (unless of course it's at McDonalds or eating a pølse.) It's often a topic of conversation amongst the expats as almost everyone has a funny story about it and many of us were advised by Norwegians upon arrival that the easiest way to stick out is to pick up a hamburger with our hands at a restaurant.

  2. Yum!! Had no idea about these open face sandwiches over there. I love the "make your own" you described at the office cafeteria, although with my unhealthy obsession with smoked salmon I think I'd likely gorge myself on the daily.

  3. I am of the strong mindset, and have been since childhood, that ALL sandwiches taste better toasted and open-faced with a tiny dash of salt. Seriously, that combo makes everything just that much better. Love love this recipe. Saving away for one of those Sunday's when we're lazy lounging and I want to gourmet it up in the kitchen!

    eileen ragan | leaner by the lake

  4. Looks GREAT! Definitely worthy of eating with utensils if you ask me ;)

  5. Yum! I'm adding this to my "must make" list - those tomatoes look like perfection!

  6. I eat the vast majority of my food with some sort of utensil. I honestly really hate eating with my hands - I don't like the feeling of having food on my fingers. I do generally eat hamburgers and sandwiches the "normal" way, but I'm usually grumbling to myself the entire time :) especially when things start to get messy!

  7. my mom made open-faced sandwiches before cutting carbs was cool :P

    sounds like the Norwegians take politeness VERY seriously... I vote fingers!


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