Mary Anne here. As I’ve mentioned before, the Ellicott clan was raised in a Christian-Judeo household. We were confirmed Catholics but our step-dad, George, was a devout Jew. And as he embraced our Christmas and Easter traditions with all the enthusiasm of an excited toddler, we honored his religious holidays as well – and none more so than the High Holidays. My sister, two younger brothers and I all fasted on Yom Kippur and I’m certain George was very touched by our solemn observance.
We were kids though, and while we understood the seriousness of the day, I must confess during those long hours of fasting my mind wandered to the treats that lay ahead. While this holiday traditionally breaks the fast with a fabulous assortment of all-things-dairy including creamed herring, egg salad etc., it was always the platter of lox and bagels that got my stomach growling. It was the one day of the year that I could eat all the lox I wanted and no one said boo!
Yom Kippur is right around the corner, and while George has long since passed on and I no longer observe this sacred day of atonement, I wanted to pay tribute to the man that took on our motley Ellicott crew. These Salmon Bites are fancier than what we were served back in the day – and they’re certainly not cheap – but George was a man who was generous in his heart, soul, and thin wallet. Shalom, George.
Smoked Salmon Challah Bites
Makes 48 Bites
1 lb. smoked salmon – $9.99
8 oz. whipped cream cheese – $1.67
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill – $0.99
zest of ½ a lemon – $0.50
1½ – 2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice – included above
2 cloves finely minced garlic, separated – stock
salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
8 slices of Challah or large Brioche – $4.99
small container plain yogurt or sour cream – $0.99
2 oz. jar red lumpfish caviar or salmon roe ( totally optional) – $6.29
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry (including caviar): $25.42
Total Per Bite: $0.53
Grand Total Without the Caviar: $19.13
Total Per Bite: $0.40
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the Challah in half. Next, cut from the widest ends of each half, slicing the bread into 3/4″ thick slices. Cut each slice into 6 pieces, totally 48. They should be about 2-3 inch irregular squares.
2. Arrange the 48 pieces on a large cookie sheet. Combine 1 clove of the minced garlic with 4 Tablespoons of olive oil. Using a pastry brush, lightly paint each square. Bake for 12 minutes until pale gold. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. *Note: If preparing the day before, once cooled, store in a zip lock bag or sealed container for up to 2 days.
3. Meanwhile, combine the whipped cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped dill, the other clove of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine thoroughly.
4. To assemble: Spread the herbed cream cheese mixture on each piece of Challah. Top with a slice of salmon, cutting it to fit the bread. (I use my kitchen shears.) Top with a small dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Follow with a sprinkle of red lumpfish. Garnish the platter with sprigs of dill.