A Danish-ish Brunch

My grandparents packed up their things and took a boat from Denmark to Halifax in 1956 to start a new life in Canada. And while they certainly took pains to integrate into Canadian culture, they always celebrated their Danish heritage. Growing up, visiting my grandparents meant garlands of tiny Danish flags on the Christmas tree, the comforting smells of frikadeller (Danish meatballs), and lots & lots of Danish mid-century modern furniture.

While I'm not about to integrate pickled herring into my day-to-day life, it's nice to bring a little Danishness to a meal, even if its not quite so traditional. Giving a little twist to my Sunday brunch seemed like a perfect opportunity. Dill is an under used herb. It's bright and pungent, but not overwhelming, and it pairs beautifully with the delicate creaminess of harvarti in biscuts that cry out for some sauteed spinach and a drippy, soft-yolked egg. The dill flavour carries through to the caesars with the secret ingredient: pickle juice! I opened the last of the summer's home-preserved batch of pickles, but any jar with a hearty punch of dill will do.

And since no celebratory Danish meal was complete without a hearty cheer of "skål!" followed by ice-cold shots of akvavit straight from the freezer, I say treat brunch like a celebration of its own, and give a little Danish kick to your Caesars to round out the meal.


Danish-ish Biscuits

 

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 tsp minced dill
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup grated havarti
3/4 cup + 1 tsp milk
1 egg

Freeze the butter for at least 30 minutes. While butter is freezing, pre-heat oven to 400°F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and dill. Grate frozen butter into the mixture and with your fingertips, work some of the butter into the flour until the butter is a mixture of pea- and lentil-sized pieces. Stir the cheese into the flour & butter mixture. Add 3/4 cup of the milk, and mix with a fork until just combined.

Dump biscuit dough onto floured surface, and pat out into a large rectangle about 1" thick. Fold the dough in half. Again, pat to about 1" thick, and fold dough in half. Pat to about 1.5" thick, and cut into desired shapes (I used a 2.5" cookie cutter, but you can also just cut the dough into rectangles or squares with a knife), re-rolling scraps once. I got five biscuits in total.

Beat together 1 egg and remaining 1 tsp of milk. Place biscuits on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and brush the top of the biscuits with the egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

When slightly cooled, cut in half and fill with some spinach sautéed with garlic and olive oil, and a soft-yolked egg, then devour it with a Danish-ish caesar.


Danish-ish Caesar

Per drink:

1 tbsp pickle juice
4 dashes hot sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce Danish akvavit
3/4 cup Clamato (or plain tomato juice, if you want to make a Danish-ish Bloody Mary)
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
celery stalks, jalapeno slices, or any other desired garnishes

 
 

Pour all ingredients into ice-filled glass, and top with desired garnishes. 
Skål!