Apricot Räkmacka (Swedish Open-Faced Shrimp Sandwich)

For several years, I worked in a seafood shop. Cutting, packaging, creating things like crab cakes and salmon burgers for people to take home, and hell, I even did the social media. It eventually became way too much so I had to leave there. That time taught me about the importance of finding not only quality seafood, but have it harvested or farmed responsibly.

Living in a landlocked part of Western Canada, doing your homework when it comes to seafood is even more important. There’s a lot of mislabeling, either by intent or by ignorance, and it requires more than just “asking a supplier/importer/exporter.” You have to look into the countries of origin and see their overall practices. Some countries run very strict fisheries, while others intentionally try to mask the origin so they can overfish or poison waters with filthy aquaculture practices.

I trust the shop I used to work at. I also did some research on some shrimp at one of the grocery stores here. I was pleasantly surprised that some, key word “some,” of their shrimp is a good choice. After a quick pan-fry and butter basting, I’m happy with the quality as well.

One of the reasons for getting shrimp as a part of my food shopping this week was to make the iconic Swedish open faced shrimp sandwich, Räkmacka. While reading about Swedish food a little while ago, I learned that this particular sandwich is all over Sweden in one incarnation or another. Almost every fish market will make this and have their own twist to it.

Today, my twist on Räkmacka has an herby yogurt instead of the traditional mayonnaise and slices of fresh apricot instead of lemon. It’s a hearty, yet refreshing sandwich on a blistering summer day. I had the stove on for a total of 15 minutes today. Most of it at 5am to hard boil the eggs, the rest to quick pan fry the shrimp and cool for later. Enjoy!!

Apricot Räkmacka (Swedish Open-Faced Shrimp Sandwich with Apricot)

For the Butter-Basted Shrimp:

150g/6 oz small shrimp (I used the 31-40 count sized shrimp)

2 tsp oil

2 tsp butter

   Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and butter. When the butter melts and starts to bubble, add the shrimp in a single layer. Allow to fry, untouched, for 2 minutes on one side. Turn the shrimp and allow to cook for a further 90 seconds, basting with the oil-butter mixture from the bottom of the pan. Set aside on paper towels to drain away the excess fat. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill.

For the Herby Yogurt:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 Tbsp fresh marjoram leaves, torn

1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

   In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, marjoram, mint, salt and pepper and stir until uniformly combined. Set aside.

For the Apricot Räkmacka:

6 slices Dinkelbröd (Swedish spelt bread), or rye bread

2 fresh apricots, halved, pitted, then sliced into wedges 1cm (1/2″) thick

Reserved Herby Yogurt

Reserved Butter-Basted Shrimp

1 cup young beet greens (or leaf lettuce)

1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and thickly sliced

   On each slice of bread, spread it liberally with Herby Yogurt. Lay the beet greens on the yogurt. Artfully arrange the hard boiled egg slices on one side of the bread. Lay a few cucumber slices over the egg slices with a slight overlap. Lay the Butter-Basted Shrimp on the other side of the bread, Evenly lay a few apricot slices over the shrimp. Serves 4-6.

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