Minnesota Spoon: Smørrebrød with Erick Harcey of Upton 43

MN Spoon Smørrebrød by Wing Ta65

Smørrebrød // Photo by Wing Ta

Things on toast have special place in my heart. I honestly can’t think of a better vehicle for getting food into my mouth than buttered, toasted bread. There are no rules and it fits into any meal of the day. Chef Erick Harcey of Upton 43 shares my enthusiasm, and he’s upping the ante with smørrebrød: Nordic-style open-faced sandwiches. Like all of his food, Erick’s smørrebrød combine classic flavors with a little Harcey flare.

Erick and I were planning a Saturday brunch, and an assortment of smørrebrød was a no brainer—lots of options to please all the guests. Sure enough, Harcey pulled up in front of my house with what looked like enough prep to open a small restaurant—roasted veggies, cured fish, beef tartare—and I knew we were in for a treat.

Photos by Wing Ta

Here are three smørrebrød I found particularly incredible: cauliflower and fancy cheese, pickled herring and beets, and beef tartare with chimichurri. Do yourself and your friends a favor and give these a try for your next brunch.

All the bread can be grilled or toasted ahead of time with a light brushing of salted butter. Erick recommends using a good rye bread; Patisserie 46 has an exceptional one.

Cauliflower and Herb Cheese

MN Spoon Smørrebrød by Wing Ta66

The Cauliflower and Herb Cheese Smørrebrød, seen here at the bottom of the plate // Photo by Wing Ta

For the cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Grated parmesan

For the cheese

  • 1½ cups boursin cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs of your choosing (basil, tarragon, and chive are nice)
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the head of cauliflower of all greens and excessive stems. Brush with dijon, honey, and cider vinegar. Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan, salt, and pepper over the head of cauliflower. Roast on a sheet pan until tender and golden brown, roughly 20 minutes. Let cool and portion into small florets.

Mix the cheese and herbs, and add salt as needed. Spread the herb cheese on toast and top with roasted cauliflower. Add any fresh herb garnishes and a little drizzle or oil and lemon juice to finish.

MN Spoon Smørrebrød by Wing Ta79

Top right, beef tartare with chimichurri and crème fraiche // Photo by Wing Ta

Beef Tartare with Chimichurri and Crème Fraiche

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 red jalapeno, minced
  • ½ cup cilantro, packed
  • ¼ cup parsley, packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 ounces high-quality beef tenderloin, finely chopped

Combine the first nine ingredients (red wine vinegar through olive oil) in bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, mix creme fraiche, soft butter, herbs, salt, and pepper until smooth.

Take raw beef and fold in small amounts of chimichurri to taste, making sure the beef isn’t drowning in liquid. Spread butter and creme fraiche mixture on toast, top with the beef and chimichurri mix, and garnish with leftover fresh herbs.

Pickled Herring and Beets

MN Spoon Smørrebrød by Wing Ta59

Pickled Herring and Beets Smørrebrød // Photo by Wing Ta

  • 3 ounces pickled beets, finely diced
  • 1 apple, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chives, minced
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quart pickled herring
  • 4 ounces creme fraiche

In a mixing bowl, mix the beets, apples, and herbs. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread creme fraiche on the toast. Layer on pickled herring and top with apple-beet mixture.

For more cooking tips, follow @TheMinnesotaSpoon on Instagram or Facebook, or go toSlayToGourmet.com to see some previous recipes.

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