Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Swedish Breakfast Sandwich

Swedish food gets an unfairly bad rap. Sure, there are tons of meatballs in cream sauce, and a dearth of vegetables outside of the arctic-friendly root category. And for a reason I never determined, pizza is invariably served with pickled cabbage salad. But there are some great things. Cream-filled buns, scented with saffron or cardamom. Crayfish parties, complete with paper hats, aquavit, and sing-a-longs. And breakfasts.

Breakfast in Sweden is seldom just a bowl of cereal. There might be some hot porridge with a dollop of jam for your sweet tooth, but also a boiled egg with some crispbread for a shot of protein. And while we're at it: herring!

Sweden has nearly 5,000 miles of coastline, so it's not surprising that seafood features heavily into the national diet. It's enjoyed fresh, pickled, smoked, and salted. And, in this case, made into a paste that can be squeezed on top of your open-faced sandwich.

Kalles Kaviar is a product of the Abba company, and ubiquitous in Sweden. Luckily you can find it in American Ikea stores, if you don't have a European import shop nearby. There are a few variations, but the basic Kalles is made from cod roe, with a bit of seasoning and some potatoes to give it body. If you love a bagel with lox, you will love a slice of toast with egg and Kalles. Crisp toast, slightly bland boiled egg, and the salty, fishy paste come together for one of my absolute favorite breakfasts. This recipe is so simple I feel a bit embarrassed posting it. But if I can win one new convert, it will have been worth it.

Swedish Breakfast Sandwich

1 slice toast
1 egg
Kalles Kaviar

Place the egg in a small pot of water, and bring to a boil. When the water is at a full boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for 10 minutes. Peel the egg, and thinly slice. Layer the slices on the toast, and top with a hefty squeeze of Kalles. Sprinkle with pepper if desired (the Kalles will provide ample salt). Enjoy, to the horror of your non-fish-loving friends.


  1. I've never heard of this, and should I be able to locate some Kalles, I'll be your convert!

  2. Breakfast was my favorite part about my trip to Sweden (and Finland). I brought home some Kalles Kaviar, but still haven't tried it