appetizers, brunch, salads

herbed salmon + pumpernickel bites.

Okay, everyone; this one is a quickie appetizer I never intended to be a blog recipe; it was really just something I wanted to try for myself. This time of year, I start looking for easy to whip up bites of food which aren’t terrible for me. I could use more green things. I could also use more fish. I could find a way to stop eating cake. 

But the fun of the holidays means a big back-to-reality these days, and I find I need to trick myself to get back into my regular eating habits, which involve lots of superfoods, vegetables, and Omega-3’s. I know…you don’t believe me. It’s true though; despite the onslaught of cookies, candy, and fruit tarts, I enjoy eating foods that are actually good for me. I don’t usually have to force myself to eat healthy foods; right now, as with every January, I’m struggling. And I know i’m not the only one.

So here’s my guilt-free offering for the weekend: salmon salad on teensy-tiny pumpernickel bread. great as an appetizer for guests who are over heavy foods, and even better as a quick bite for lunch. It takes zero time to make, so you won’t be tempted to rummage through your freezer to find that leftover candy you stored somewhere in its icy depths; you simply won’t have time.

To be honest, this post is partially because I feel a little bad for Paula Deen. I’m not what you’d call a “fan” of Paula’s, she’s not really my style, but I don’t harbor any bad feelings towards her either. I think it’s a shame when people see what you cook for a TV show and automatically assume you must eat like that all the time. It’s an unfair assessment, to say the least. I feel for her that she has diabetes. It probably doesn’t make it easier when people jump to conclusions about your personal diet.

Make this. Love it. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Adapted from Feast: Food to Celebrate Life by Nigella Lawson. She uses black bread and makes them full-size sandwiches; I think that would be lovely also.

Herbed Salmon + Pumpernickel Bites

  • 1 pound organic salmon fillets, skinned
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more for squeezing into mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4-6 tablespoons mayonnaise (and please feel free to use low-fat or fat-free)
  • 1/4 chopped basil leaves (stems reserved for salmon poaching)
  • 1 loaf party pumpernickel bread (you know, the tiny, thin slices you use for, well, anything)
  • olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 400˚F. This is for your pumpernickel toasts.

Put the salmon fillets in a large skillet, cover with water, and add the lemon juice, salt, peppercorns and the stalks from the basil you chopped. Bring just to the boiling point, turn the fish over, and switch off the heat. leave for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spatula onto a platter to cool.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place maybe 20 slices of the party pumpernickel  on the sheet. If you want to do more, do more; these keep very well in your pantry. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt, and place in oven for 10 minutes. Let cool a little before topping with salmon salad.

Once cooled, flake the fish with a fork, transfer to a bowl, and add the mayonnaise and chopped basil. Add a squeeze of lemon, and season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. I generously season, but test as you go and don’t overdo it. Top your toasts and serve/eat immediately.

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