For the festive season, serve hot- or cold-smoked salmon on mini potato pancakes or in crispy bread baskets. Top the pancakes with a dollop of sour cream or crème frâiche and a sprinkling of fresh chives; try tangy horseradish-mustard cream on the baskets. You’ll find these holiday recipes and more like them in my latest cookbooks: Favorite Flavors of Ireland and Christmas Flavors of Ireland. Order signed copies at www.irishcook.com
Smoked Salmon on Potato Pancakes
Makes 12 small cakes
2 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4–1/2 cup milk
Canola oil for frying
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound smoked salmon, cut into 24 (1/2-inch-wide strips)
1/2 cup sour cream or crème frâiche
Fresh chives for garnish
1. Put the potatoes, egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse 4–5 times to blend, and then gradually add enough of the milk to make a thick, smooth batter.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil; add 1 tablespoon butter. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until browned and heated through. Repeat with additional butter and remaining batter. Cakes can be served immediately or refrigerated, covered; reheat in a hot oven.
3. To serve, put a spoonful of sour cream or crème frâiche on top of each pancake. Put a piece of rolled salmon on top, sprinkle with pepper, and garnish with chives.
Smoked Salmon Bread Baskets with Horseradish-Mustard Cream
Makes 24 baskets
No time to make pancakes? Try these simple baskets made with white sandwich bread topped with salmon and tangy horseradish-mustard sauce.
6 slices white sandwich bread , crusts removed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound smoked salmon, chopped
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Caviar, smoked salmon, or cod roe for topping
1. Make the bread baskets. Preheat oven 350° F. Butter the wells of a 24-cup mini-muffin pan.
2. With a rolling pin, flatten each slice. Cut each slice into four squares, and then gently press one square into each cup. Brush with the melted butter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp. Remove the bread baskets from the pan.
3. Make the horseradish-mustard cream. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, parsley, and pepper. To serve, divide the chopped salmon into each basket and spoon a little cream over. Top with some caviar or roe.
Photo courtesy Bord Bia