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Reason #5834 Why Everything’s Better in Sweden

4 November 2007

The Tunbrödsrulle

Until I spent a summer in Sweden I was lukewarm about hot dogs. Then I discovered the tunnbrödsrulle (flatbread roll) and was forced to reconsider all my preconceptions of the most humble of the sausages.

Swedish hot dog stands wrap hot dogs and mashed potatoes in soft flatbread with various garnishes — lettuce, ketchup, mustard, relish*, and the indispensable crispy fried onion bits.

As anyone who’s ever swooned over green bean and onion casserole knows, it’s this last addition that lifts the tunnbrödsrulle out of the realm of the ordinary.

As much as I love the standard tunbrödsrulle, I’ve been tempted to experiment with my own version of this Scandinavian snack. I use lavash bread and a Boca vegetarian smoked sausage as my main ingredients. I have nothing against regular hot dogs, I just happened to have some leftover veggie dogs in my fridge the first time I tried this, and I liked the result so much I haven’t bothered to try an alternative.

Instead of the instant mashed potatoes most Swedish hot dog stands use, I slather my dog with homemade horseradish mashed potatoes. I’ve tried freshly caramelized onions, but I haven’t found anything that beats the ready-made, deep-friend shallots available at Southeast Asian groceries.

* For some reason, pickle relish is called Boston gurkor (Boston cucumbers) in Swedish. Having lived in Boston for five years, I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed that relish was a speciality here. Strangely, relish is not the only place where New England makes a surprise appearance in Swedish cuisine. What we call Thousand Island dressing they call Rhode Island sauce (Rhode Island sås).

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