smørrebrød no. 1: potato with chives mayo & quick pickled red onion

This right here is what I am looking forward to every weekend. A simple lunch of rugbrødsmadder or a fancier word: smørrebrød. A Danish sour dough rye bread topped with all sorts of goodies. Because of my love for smørrebrød I will make a little series on this topic, starting with my all time favorite: potato smørrebrød.

I believe I have loved this little piece of heaven for as long as I have lived, however my boyfriend claims he was the one who made me fall in love with potato on rye. But in the end, none of us can take credit for making mayo and potato taste so damn good together. All I can try, is elevate it a little, taking something that works, and make it run like a smooth operator (other than being a really good song, it is also a method to leave out noise from data – I looked it up).

A traditional (this is dangerous territory, and if anyone has a degree in smørrebrød, please correct me) potato on rye consists of, besides the rye, boiled potato slices topped with mayonnaise and chives. Very simple, yet very satisfying. The sweet and earthy potato, the sour rye bread, the fatty mayonnaise and the sharpness of the chives. It just works!

My rendition of potato on rye is not very different from the traditional one. I use the same ingredients, but I integrate the chives into the mayo for a more well-rounded fatty-to-sharp ratio. I then add quick pickled red onions for texture and extra acidity. 

One extra note. Rye bread. Sour dough rye bread. Rugbrød in Danish. It is my understanding, that outside Denmark the rye bread I am talking about is not very typical and/or accessible. If you can get it, great. Otherwise it is easy to make yourself – this recipe is good. Just don’t skimp on the sour dough rye bread, it really is half of the smørrebrød.

potato on rye bread with pickled onions and chive mayo

Makes 6-8 servings

8-10 new small potatoes

100 ml (1/2 cup) neutral vegetable oil
A small bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt
1 medium red onion
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp boiling water

6-8 slices of Danish style sour dough rye bread
Salt + pepper


  1. Clean and scrub the potatoes, leaving the skin on. Put into a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes until they are done – about 10-15 minutes depending on size and age. Check with a knife, to see if done. Drain, rinse with cold water and leave to cool completely.
  2. FOR THE CHIVES MAYO: In a small saucepan heat the vegetable oil over low heat. When it feels a little warm, but not hot, stir in the chopped chives and remove from the heat. Let it cool off a little.
  3. Blend the oil and chives well, strain in a fine meshed sieve into a small bowl. Leave to cool completely. Make quick pickled red onion now (step 5).
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Then pour in the now cooled chives oil while whisking vigorously. Slowly at first, then pouring more steadily at the end. The mayo should have a, well, mayo consistency, but not the store-bought jelly hard like consistency. Add more vegetable oil if mayo is too thin.
  5. FOR THE QUICK PICKLED RED ONION: Slice the onion very thin. Add to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and let sit until ready to use, but at least 20 minutes.
  6. TO SERVE: Slice the potatoes, lay slices onto the sour dough rye bread. Season with salt and pepper. Top with a dollop of chives mayo and some pickled onions. Sprinkle a bit of chopped chives, if you like. Enjoy!

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