Beet Smorrebrod

Tarragon and yellow beets give this Danish open-face sandwich its unique flavor.

  • Serves

    makes 4

  • Cook

    45 minutes


By Adam Aamann-Christensen

Published on August 2, 2017

Danes tuck into smørrebrød, or open-faced sandwiches, at cafes specializing in the nation’s most famous lunch dish. Traditional versions consist of buttered dark rye topped with everything from fresh veggies to pickled herring. Our recipe showcases tender yellow and chioggia (candy stripe) beets slicked with tarragon mayonnaise.


For the smorrebrod:

  • 3 medium yellow beets, plus 1 small Choggia beet for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • Tarragon leaves, for garnish
  • 4 tbsp. buckwheat
  • Four 14-inch-thick slices Danish-style rye bread

For the tarragon mayonnaise:

  • 14 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 packed tbsp. chopped tarragon leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

In a small saucepan, add the 3 medium yellow beets and enough water to cover by 1 inch; bring to a boil, then season with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cook until the beets are tender when poked with a paring knife, about 35 minutes. Drain and run the beets under cool water while peeling away the skins. Slice away any remaining or unattractive ends.

Step 2

Transfer the cooked beets to a cutting board and cut each into 8 wedges; season with salt and set aside.

Step 3

Meanwhile, make the tarragon mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, tarragon, and a pinch each salt and pepper; stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 4

Using a mandolin, thinly slice the remaining raw yellow beet and the chioggia beet. Transfer to a small bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to keep crisp.

Step 5

Meanwhile, in a small dry skillet, add the buckwheat over medium-high heat. Cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 5-7 minutes. Remove to a small bowl.

Step 6

To assemble, spread each of the rye bread slices with about 2 teaspoons of the prepared tarragon mayonnaise. Top with the cooked beets, overlapping the pieces slightly, then top decoratively with a few slices each of the raw yellow and chioggia beets. Garnish with a few sliced shallots, the buckwheat, and tarragon leaves to taste. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.