This holiday season, I was lucky enough to spend New Year’s Eve with 3 of my favorite girlfriends in Switzerland plus their families in a cozy chalet in a small town just a few miles outside of Chamonix in the French Alps. These lovely ladies also happen to be some of the best cooks I know, which was important considering we cooked 2-3 meals a day for 9 adults plus 6 kids (between the ages of 1-6) over a course of 5 days. Yes, that’s a lot of food! Some of our meals included Saltimbocca with Porcini Risotto, Swiss Raclette, Chinese Hot Pot and much much more.
In the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing some of the fantastic meals and recipes that were shared on this beautiful trip among a wonderful group of friends who love to enjoy good food, good wine and most importantly, good company.
The first recipe is the traditional Swedish Toast Skagen (Prawns on Toast) that my Finnish friend Jenni made on New Year’s Eve for an apéro. The one thing I love about the Europeans is that they love their apéro, which is just another term for “cocktail hour” and there are always small bites to eat to wet your appetite. This is also my favorite part of the meal, except for the fact that I usually eat too much and by the time we sit down for dinner, I am usually almost always full.
Toast Skagen is a perfect starter for a celebratory meal and try pairing them with Champagne (we were drinking Philippe Gonet & Veuve Clicquot) and oysters on the half shell. That’s what we did since we were in France and it’s obligatory, right?
INGREDIENTS (approx. 2-3 dozen toasts depending on size of bread)
3/4 cup créme fraiche
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon rind
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped dill
freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup chopped cooked shrimp (I used about 1 dozen of the small 51/60 size)
For the Toast:
1 large baguette (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large fresh garlic clove minced
salt and pepper to taste
For the Garnish:
chopped shallots (or red onions or green onions)
lemon rind (optional as I used my leftovers)
freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400F and on the grill function, which I think is the best and quickest way to make toast.
- Slice your baguette into about 1/2 inch slices and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, minced garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Brush this mixture onto each piece of sliced baguette. Set aside for now.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the créme fraiche, freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon rind, salt, dill, pepper and cooked shrimp. Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble your toasts.
- Place the baguette slices into the oven for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure you watch them as this might take a bit longer or shorter depending on your oven. Once they are golden brown, let the toasts cool down to room temperature.
- While your toasts are cooling down, prepare your garnishes.
- When you are ready to assemble, place a generous spoonful of the shrimp mixture onto a toast and garnish with dill, shallots, lemon rind, salmon roe and freshly cracked black pepper.
- I would try to stay away from using baby shrimp for this dish. Baby shrimp tend to have little texture and are quite mushy and not appetizing in my opinion.