SMOKED SALMON EGG SALAD SANDWICHES ON PUMPERNICKEL
I love how this grown-up egg salad is beautifully contained by the Scottish smoked salmon wrapper and sandwiched with pumpernickel on the top and bottom. Cold-smoked salmon makes an excellent substitute for the Scottish and is available in most markets. Both of these are a good choice because of their mild fish flavor. Also note that no salt is needed as the salmon already has plenty to share. These mini meals are remarkably adaptable, delicious for breakfast, lunch, or as part of a buff et. Serve with a green salad and a light dressing for a refreshingly complete meal.
FOR THE EGG SALAD
8 large eggs
1⁄3 cup (75 ml) mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped capers plus 1 tablespoon caper brine
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion or shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or dill from a tube
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (1/4-ounce / 7-g) packet unflavored gelatin
FOR THE BREAD WRAPPER
12 thin slices pumpernickel bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
12 sprigs fresh dill
16 ounces (455 g) Scottish or cold-smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, for garnish (optional)
White bread or onion-poppy seed bread are a few possible bread substitutions that would work well in this dish.
MAKE THE EGG SALAD
In a medium saucepan, cover the eggs by 2 inches (5 cm) with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let rest 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the eggs in cool water. Peel the eggs under running cool water. Place the peeled eggs in a medium bowl along with the mayonnaise, mustard, capers and brine, red onion, dill, and pepper to taste. Whisk to bring all of the flavors together, mashing the eggs so they remain textured, not smooth (see "Savory Tidbit," page 138). Sprinkle the gelatin over the egg salad and mix thoroughly.
MAKE THE BREAD WRAPPER
Using a 2-inch (5-cm) round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut each slice of bread into 2 circles, for a total of 24. Butter 12 of the circles, on one side only, with a thin layer of butter. Place 1 sprig of dill on each buttered slice and press it so it sticks.
ASSEMBLE AND CHILL
Line a 12-well classic cupcake pan with plastic wrap by overlapping 2 long pieces of plastic wrap along the center of the pan, leaving a 3-inch (7.5-cm) border of plastic wrap overhanging all sides of the pan.
Line the wells with the smoked salmon, allowing the salmon to hang over the edges of the pan by 2 inches (5 cm). I use 1. slices per well, but the quantity will vary depending on the size of the slices. If the bottoms of the wells are not completely covered, cut smaller pieces of the salmon to fill them in. Add 1 round of bread, buttered side down, to each well.
Distribute the egg salad among the wells and top with the second piece of bread. Fold the salmon over the bread, and then wrap the pan in another layer of plastic wrap, pressing down on each well to compact the contents. Chill for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, then lift up on the edges of the plastic wrap lining the wells of the pan to remove the mini sandwiches. To serve, invert the sandwiches and garnish with a pinch of fresh dill, if desired.
Instead of dirtying another dish (or three), mash the hard-boiled egg with a wire whisk in one bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients. (It's going into the salad soon enough anyway.) This also saves you the time of chopping the eggs on a cutting board.
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