Biff Rydberg – the nobleman of fry-ups

Pyttipannu (a type of fry-up) is a popular dish that is part of the Swedish and Finnish food traditions. Biff Rydberg (lit. ‘Rydberg steak’) is the nobleman of fry-ups.

The name ‘pyttipannu’ originates from the Swedish name ‘pytt i panna’, which means small bits in a pan. Dishes akin to pyttipannu have been prepared in all cultures and during all ages. The Nordic form of pyttipannu was born in the mid-1800s.

While Biff Rydberg, which originates from the kitchen of hotel Rydberg in Stockholm, is a legendary concept for Swedes, in other countries the dish is less well-known. Despite the name of the dish, it is not a steak but a finer version of a fry-up that is made of beef tenderloin. The dish was created by Jean-François Régis Cadier, whose family originates from the French Alps.

The dish was named after the merchant and shipowner Abraham Rydberg (born in 1798). He donated money to build the hotel but never got to see the hotel completed nor did he get to taste the food that carries his name. The hotel was demolished as early as in 1914 but the classic dish lives on.

Rydberg steak
four servings
400 g beef tenderloin or sirloin
500 g small potatoes
1 large onion
1 tsp salt
few turns of black pepper from the spice mill
3 tbsp finely chopped thyme or 1 dl of finely chopped parsley
4 egg yolks
For frying
50 g butter
In addition
Le Gruyére AOP cheese
egg yolk
pickled gherkins, wedged
Dijon mustard
  1. Carefully wash the potatoes. Boil in salt water until well done. Allow to cool and cut the potatoes in half.
  2. Take the tenderloin out to room temperature half an hour before cooking. Cut the meat up into dices a couple of centimetres in size.
  3. Peel the onion and cut it up into thin wedges.
  4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of fat on a frying pan, fry the beef dices briefly on a hot pan. The meat may remain reddish on the inside. Season with salt and black pepper. Lift the meat dices on an aluminium foil, wrap it into a package and allow to rest while frying the potatoes.
  5. Heat the rest of the fat on the pan. Add the halved potatoes and fry until browned. Season with salt and finely chopped thyme. Move the potatoes to the edge of the pan. Add the onion wedges onto the pan and fry until soft.
  6. Divide the potatoes onto four main course plates. Add the onions onto the plates. Lift the meat dices next to the potatoes. Separate egg yolks from the whites and lift the yolks onto the plate inside an eggshell.
  7. Serve with Le Gruyére AOP cheese, pickled gherkin wedges and Dijon mustard.
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