I’m rarely gripped by headlines in the media such as… “Popstar has a new handbag exclusive”, “Famous celebrity finds a part of everyday life hard…” or “Someone dares to have a real opinion shocker!”. It’s something I’ve been accustomed to for some time now. Headline grippers designed to grab our attention and part with our cash. We end up with a tabloid or magazine full of exaggerated truths and fairy tales. It evolves too, nowadays we know it is as “click-bait” online. Some unscrupulous journalists promise a great story, but you’re left feeling empty and robbed. I’m such a cynic, I know, but it’s been proven time again to be true!
I like to think I’m above all that nonsense and form my own opinions based on a balance of facts in authentic articles over a period of time, not regurgitate a headline that’s been force-fed along with my morning coffee.
However, today I am going to confess something. Just as the purest music lovers secretly adore the odd “Gangnam Style”, and film buffs behind closed doors rejoice in the delights of “Snakes on a plane”, now and then, as if by magic a simple and effective headline comes along in a Google search, a targeted ad or a “Related article” link and I cannot for the life in me resist the urge to click…
“The best prawns on toast in the world!“
That’s it, that’s all it had to say. It’s so simple, yet so effective. I’m intrigued… really intrigued! How can someone so brazenly make such a bold claim about such a simple dish? It must be bullshit… surely… hang on, what if it isn’t and I miss out on this vital piece of information!?
The media machine is a relentless juggernaut ploughing through our lives on a daily basis. As much as I try to fight it there are simply things they target me with that I just cannot resist. Google knows I love prawns! It’s no coincidence that Facebook ads sing to my interests. My phone has tracked me to many a seafood restaurant, and I think Siri must be listening to my happy groans as I devour those tasty little morsels at home. Clicking on these links is admitting defeat. All of a sudden I’m imagining I’m the protagonist Winston in 1984, and my Orwellian paranoia get’s the better of me. “War is Peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”. But alas, I had no strength, and I take a bite. What I find is definitely not an empty promise, but a dish to rival anything created by an Orwell, Lennon, or a Pollock in its genius of elegant simplicity!
What is Toast Skagen?
As I’m in danger of this becoming a lecture on the morals and integrity of the media, let’s get back on track… just like the crew on a boat in this story did because of the amazing dish served by their chef Tore Wretman.
The story goes that Toast Skagen was first created on a Swedish boat called the Salta Marina during a regatta in the Scandinavian sea in 1956. Morale was high within the crew as the team had chosen a route far away from the rest of the pack and it had proved to be successful. They were clearly in the lead and already thoughts were with the upcoming arrival at the celebration banquet as the victors.
But, suddenly the winds completely dropped. As the crew watched every ship in the main pack pass them by, there was a real possibility they wouldn’t even make it in time for the banquet! With the taste of disappointment quickly spreading through the ranks quick thinking chef Tore Wretman went below deck to see what he could find in the supplies.
He found plenty of prawns, bread, butter, eggs, vegetable oil, dill and roe. Wretman was already a celebrated chef in Stockholm, and he put his culinary skills to work.
He toasted the bread in a skillet with butter, and made a dill mayonnaise with the eggs and vegetable oil. The prawns were served mixed into his dressing on top of the crispy and buttery bread, topped with roe.
The morale rapidly increased among the crew as they devoured his new creation.
When asked what the dish was called, he looked out the window across the bay to a harbour town in Denmark called Skagen. “This is the legendary Toast Skagen!” he joked.
After it’s success with the crew Wretman introduced the dish in his restaurant “Restaurant Riche” in Stockholm and it was a huge success. To this day Toast Skagen is one of the most popular dishes you can try in Stockholm and has become the legendary dish Wretman first joked about.
As much as I loved the traditional version, I have made a similar version with a modern twist. I think it works well with Sourdough bread and I like to spike the dressing with a little dijon mustard, but you can leave this out if you’d prefer to try the traditional dressing. After trying it either way I think you’ll agree that Toast Skagen is cookin’ awesome!