12.336 Toast Skagen

Cycle 12 – Item 336

7 (Tue) December 2021

Toast Skagen


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

Korean-Swedish Culinary Exchange (20) (see also KSCX)

In the wake of our previous exchange, I reconfirmed my long-standing intention to reduce consumption of land-based animals, to which GK proposed a few seafood dishes, among which Toast Skagen seemed most appealing.

In return, I noted that GK had never once done a seafood dish in the context of KSCX and suggested canned mackeral kimchi jjigae.


Toast Skagen is a Swedish dish.   Starts with skagenröraa salad consisting of shrimp + mayo and/or sour cream and/or crème fraiche and/or mustard + dill + salt + pepper, among other ingredients.  The salad is placed on toasted bread, topped with fish roe, often served with lemon wedges.  Invented in the 1950s by restaurateur Tore Wretmen, who is described on Wikipedia as “perhaps best known for introducing cooking to men in Sweden” (GK, perhaps, is part of that legacy; so would KSCX).

I used the recipe from SwedishFood.com.

Other than meatballs, this was the first dish that I’d experienced at a restaurant before trying to make it myself (see 12.112 Köttbullar med Potatismos & Sås), so I had an inkling of what to expect.

It was awesome.   The sweetness of the shrimp – small ones, pre-peeled, parboiled – pairing nicely with the tanginess of the mayo + sour cream, plus a slight kick from Tabasco sauce, the zing of the fresh dill, the pop of roe, all brought together by the crispy toast.   My 4th favorite dish in the history of KSCX.  Better than the one at Hemlagat?

Some of the other flavored ones can be overbearing, but the pink grapefruit here is quite subtle, quite nice, and thus quite deadly.


[The comments below are GK’s own words, with minor typographical edits from me.]

I’m reporting back from my adventures with making kimchi jjigae mackerel (and also the first fish-based dish of our exchange).

It’s kinda funny, that back in 2013, when I made kimchi jjigae the first time, I used falukorv, and you actually suggested (see comments at 4.069 Kroppkakor in Zucchini-Picada Cream Sauce):

“…given my current preference for fish in kimchi jjigae (e.g., canned mackerel), rather than pork, and given the renowned Swedish affinity for fish (e.g., Swedish Fish), I’d love to see GK make kimchi jjigae with a fish substitution.”

I guess I delivered on the suggestion, but only after 8 years, and after you suggested it a second time.

I tried to follow the recipe you had posted on the blog way back, only substituting pork with mackerel.

I started by frying the mackerel in the pot, followed by the kimchi, then added kimchi broth as well as some water (maybe a little less than what your recipe suggested, since I wanted a thicker broth.

I used (Danish) mackerel that had been canned together with a tomato sauce (see photos). I wouldn’t say I could taste the tomatoes that much in the final dish anyway.

In the end, I chopped up some chilies, since I have some left from my home-growing project this year and don’t want them to go bad.  I guess they helped to up the spiciness of the dish.  Finally I added some salt + white pepper + sugar.

The broth was really rich, with a great depth, spiciness and some sourness due to the age of the kimchi.

As side dishes I had my own home-made kimchi (the bigger, upper plate) as well as pickled perilla leaves (upper left) as well as the remaining kimchi I had gotten from a friend a while back (upper right).

All in all it was a good meal, though as I am typing this I realize I forgot to make rice!  I will redeem it by making rice when I eat the remainders for lunch tomorrow though.


On my effort:

    • I anticipate many potential applications for Toast Skagen: appetizer, party finger food, anju.
    • Next time, I’m confident that I can elevate the dish to 4.0 by adding a bit of crisp, like minced cucumbers or shallots – and better plating.

On GK’s effort:

    • I’d totally forgotten about my prior suggestion to use mackerel – troubled by memory loss, but glad that I’m consistent over the years.
    • The canned mackerel that I was thinking of, the kind available in Korea (see for example 6.243 Ggongchi-Kimchi Jjigae), is totally different than the one used by GK.
    • GK is right about my old recipe calling for too much water – in fact, maybe double too much (how could it be so wrong??) – I’ve revised it.
    • Anyway, the kimchi jjigae looks great – looks very clean and modern; I’d imagine that the tomato sauce would add some sweetness, which can be a good thing to balance out the sourness.
    • I probably would’ve added some tofu, and a sprinkle of chopped scallions.


I’m going to continue exploring Swedish seafood dishes.   Gravlax, baby!

I’ll also make kimchi jjigae with canned mackerel.

For GK, I’d be curious to see something made with more of the ingredients that I sent him (BTW, I just realized that he’d sent me photos of his AHQFGT, which I’ll post soon)…

(See also BOOZE)



4 thoughts on “12.336 Toast Skagen

  1. Great post!

    Some comments and thoughts from my side:

    1. I’m really glad you lived the toast skagen. My highly unscientific guess is that it’s one of the more popular appetizers people order at restaurants (serving Nordic cuisine that is).
    2. I’m glad I was “right” about the amount of water was too high in the recipe.
    3. You’re right that the dish could have been elevated with e.g tofu + scallions. But I was feeling frugal that day and used only what I had in the fridge + pantry. Seeing your own recent post making the same dish, I’m thinking of using the yeondu + fish sauce + bulgogi sauce myself too the next time I make the dish.
    4. I’m all open to suggestions what do make in order to use the ingredients, namely the following:

    * Yeondu
    * The spicy bulgogi sauce
    * Doenjang (I can’t recall ever cooking anything using doenjang, not even doenjang jjigae)

    An additional question, The bowl you sent me instead of a dolsot, what that a “뚝배기”? I have found a recipe for 계란찜 that I want to use (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVriw_UBdTA&list=FLMhUNnLYEemAqpTdiz_ee5g&index=3&t=1s&ab_channel=Maangchi).
    Do you think I can use the bowl you sent me?

    I’m also thinking of using it to make something similar to dolsot bibimbab. I guess I achieve that by either putting it in the oven first (it should be oven safe?) or heating it over a gas stove?

    5. What do you pay for a bottle of Absolut there? It would be funny to see how the differing alcohol taxes would affect the price…

    1. 1. I will be so pleased to taste these dishes when we visit Sweden…. soon?
      2. I need to go back and retest all my old recipes. In honesty, the amounts in some of the recipes were kinda estimated as I wrote the post.
      4. Doenjang jjigae is one of the “mother” stews. You must learn to make it. / Wait wait wait on the gyeran jjim! Yes, the pot that I sent you is a 뚝배기 – what is its capacity (how much water can it hold)? I want to retest the GMTD recipes against the Maanchi recipes. / You can use the pot for a small dolsot bibimbap. Heat it over a gas stove until it’s sizzling hot, add some sesame oil, then rice, then the other namul etc, then gochujang, then a cracked egg. Take it off heat, and let the rice toast a bit, then mix everything together.
      5. 750 ml bottle is about 35,000 won.

      1. 1. If you are fully vaccinated there should be no problem coming here. There are some talks about higher infection numbers in recent weeks (maybe due to the new variant?). Hopefully it will be pretty stable when spring arrives (as was the case this year).
        4. I will try to finally cook doenjang jjigae (amongst other things) then!
        The 뚝배기 hold 600 ml (0,6 litres) when filled almost to the brim.
        Anyways, I’m looking forward to using it and the gas stove for different dishes during the Christmas holidays when I will hopefully feel less stressed from work…
        5. The “standard” (non-flavored) Absolut, 700 ml (which is the standard here) actually costs about the equivalent of 31,000 KRW. I would think that due to alcohol taxes being enormously lower over there it would be much cheaper compared to Sweden… But I guess it’s seen as a “luxury” brand so they jack up there prices…

  2. 1. “there should be no problem coming here” – this seems insanely optimistic, given the on-going ups and downs. I have a 10-day liveaboard dive trip to the Maldives that I paid for in 2019, now rescheduled for the 4th time to 2023.
    4. 600 ml is halfway between mine (500 ml)and Maangchi’s (750? – she said “3 cups” – unless she meant the Korean 180-ml cup. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. BTW, doenjang jjigae is also served in a ttukbaegi in restaurants.
    5. you’re right, it’s 700 ml here too (I think 750 ml used to be the standard in USA, but I don’t know if that’s still the case). i seem to recall Absolut costing around USD 10 in the Philippines, where the alcohol tax is ridiculously low – sometimes cheaper than duty free.

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