Friday, October 4, 2013

Finnish Voileipä "recipe"

These sandwiches are classic Finnish food, eaten pretty much any time (one of my friends eats them for breakfast, and then packs several more to eat throughout the day).  There are basically infinite variations (it is a sandwich after all), but there are a couple things that stand out to me as Finnish rather than American: 1) rye bread, 2) open-face, 3) buttered bread, 4) fish is common (though not necessary).

Difficulty: It's literally just a sandwich

The Name:
Voi + leipä = butter + bread.  Literally, butter bread but this has come to mean sandwich.  So you know at least two of the ingredients now (and how Finns feel about butter)...

Voi (butter) Yup, that is a crucial ingredient in Finnish sandwiches, though margarine is much more common these days.  I think it is used much in the same way that mayonnaise is in the US.
Leipä (bread), especially Ruisleipä (a dark, semi-hard rye bread that is really common here)
Common Toppings:
   - tomaatti (tomato)
   - kurkku (cucumber)
   - silli (herring - usually cured in one of a bazillion different ways)
   - avokado (avocado)
   - juusto (cheese - Edam is probably the most common in Finland in general)
   - kananmuna (egg - hardboiled)

The jar is of Maustesilli, which I think is herring cured in maustepippuri (allspice), which is used in all sorts of things here.  I have been trying every type of cured herring they have (I have been here 2 months and this was the final type sold in the store I had not tried), and I think it is my favorite.

Preparation (really, you need instructions for making a sandwich?)
  1. Butter/margarine each slice of bread (if you are feeling healthy you can forego this step, but it won't be authentic or nearly as delicious)
  2. Slice whatever you are putting on top
  3. Put it on top
  4. Leave the sandwich open-face.  Good luck eating without making a mess...
Now that is a sandwich!

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