The Great Battle of Pyttipanna was fought in 1974, and mostly on the pages of Dagens Nyheter.
It started relatively innocently, with a letter from your everyday angry citizen. He complained about finding sausage (the horror!) in his pyttipanna at the bistro of esteemed restaurant Operakällaren.
“Restauranteurs have been poled for
This humble Swedish hash, or
Of course, rival newspaper Svenska Dagbladet spared no time publishing a letter joking about what a “real” pyttipanna looked like at the tables of fancy neighborhood Östermalm. What did this fantastical “most delicious pyttipanna” contain? Apparently, pieces of hazel hen, partridge, and snow grouse, tenderloin,
So how did the battle end? Of course with a strike from famed restauranteur, gastronomist and man-in-charge of Operakällaren, Tore Wretman. He noted (not without a hint of fatigue) that unlike France, Sweden hasn’t codified dishes. There’s no One True Way or a set list of mandatory ingredients. Meaning: use what you’ve got.
All in all, I am sure all parties had fun, and that nothing but egos were harmed.
The aftermath of the great battle
Pyttipanna isn’t a dish that takes up space in the older cookbooks. The reason is simple—it consists of leftovers. Jokingly, this dish has been referred to by the name of a Swedish gossip magazine, Hänt
Of course, there’s the haute-cuisine version, which happily uses filet mignon, or why not “eggs 63°C” like Mathias Dahlgren.
How to make a delicious pyttipanna, or Swedish fry-up
The idea of giving you a recipe for a dish of leftovers feels arrogant, but here are some suggestions. If you want to go for haute-cuisine, use finer ingredients and go for a uniform size when you cut up the food. Otherwise, “rustic” is a perfectly fine guide.
2-3 leftover potatoes per person.
100-150 g (about 1/4 pound) meat per person—leftover steak, sausage (if you dare), ham, bacon, meatballs, etc—use what you have. I like the beef + pork belly combo.
1/4 – 1/2 onion per person
Salt and pepper
For frying: butter, or oil
For serving (optional): pickled beetroot. Parsely is nice, too.
- Chop up the boiled potatoes and fry them until golden.
- Dice the onion medium-fine and fry it until golden and soft.
- Chop the meats and fry them until they have browned slightly and are warm.
- Fry an egg per person and place to the side.
- Add all the fried ingredients together and make sure they are warm. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with a fried egg on top, and pickled beetroot or ketchup.
If you’re impatient, fry all the ingredients in the same pan and add new ones as you go along. Start with the one that will take the longest (usually the potato).
Swedes are fond of serving this dish with a fried egg or a yolk, and pickled beetroot. As a child, I was happy to swap the beetroot for ketchup, though.
The “recipe” above is a quite traditional version. Add whatever extra leftovers you think will work together. Some boiled root vegetables? Perfect.