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Toast Skagen

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Toast Skagen is a classic Swedish appetizer with petite shrimp, fresh mayo, plenty of dill, and a touch of horseradish and whitefish roe.

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When June hits, one of the first dishes that comes to mind for me is Toast Skagen. This summery bite-sized appetizer is relished across Sweden but is actually named after the small Danish fishing town of Skagen. The invention is credited to Stockholm-based Swedish chef, Tore Wretman. Wretman was an avid nautical enthusiast, and legend has it that he may have created the dish from simple ingredients on board his boat while sailing off the coast of Skagen.

There are many variations of this snack. My version uses the classic tiny shrimp and freshly made mayonnaise. This recipe for a basic mayo is what I like to use, and is fancied up with a bit of smoked paprika for extra flavor (totally optional). I like the addition of horseradish which is different from the original recipe but adds such a nice flavor to the shrimp. Fresh radish, chives, or red onion are also nice additions. Any firm bread works for the toast, but my preference is Swedish Rye Bread. Whitefish roe is traditional, but other caviar varieties would be tasty, as well!

Preparing the Toast Skagen:

The easiest method is to purchase frozen cooked petite shrimp. Thaw them, pat dry, and set aside in a bowl. Prepare the mayonnaise, add a bit of smoked paprika, fresh dill, and horseradish to make the dressing.

Add the shrimp and gently mix. Season with sea salt, cover and chill.

Melt unsalted butter in a large skillet.

Add the rye bread slices and cook on each side until they have a nice golden color.

Cut the toast into triangles and top with a little of the shrimp salad. Garnish with the roe and fresh dill sprigs.

Serve your Toast Skagen immediately and preferably with small chilled glasses of my favorite aquavit, Norden. Skål and Glad Midsommar!!

Toast Skagen

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Toast Skagen is a classic Swedish appetizer with petite shrimp, fresh mayo, plenty of dill, and a touch of horseradish and whitefish roe.


  • ½ pound pre-cooked petite shrimp, thawed if frozen
  • ¼ cup freshly prepared mayonnaise, see link in notes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon creamed horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika, optional
  • Sea salt, for seasoning
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted European-style butter
  • 4 slices Swedish Rye Bread, or other firm slicing bread
  • Small jar whitefish roe, or other roe or caviar
  • Fresh dill sprigs, for garnish


  • Pat the thawed shrimp dry and place in a bowl large enough for mixing.
  • Prepare the mayonnaise (see notes below) or use purchased mayonnaise.
  • Combine the mayo, dill, horseradish, lemon juice, and smoked paprika (if using) until smooth. Season with sea salt.
  • Add the dressing to the shrimp and gently toss to combine. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  • Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet or saute pan. Add the bread slices and cook on both sides until golden brown.
  • Cut the toast into triangles and arrange on a serving platter. Top with some of the shrimp salad, a dollop of the roe and a sprig of fresh dill. Serve immediately.



  • Fresh mayonnaise recipe found here.  Follow the basic mayo instructions by scrolling down past the ribs 🙂 
  • Use pre-cooked baby shrimp for ease of preparation.  Otherwise, cook larger shrimp their shells, peel and chop into smaller pieces.
  • Swedish Rye recipe found here.

Spirits Pairing:

  • “Snaps” or Aquavit is a traditional midsummer drink, and my very favorite brand is Norden, proudly produced in Michigan!  More about Norden here.
Course: Appetizer, bread, Brunch, Fika, Holiday, lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Scandinavian, Swedish
Servings: 2 appetizer servings

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