Choosing what to cook between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays is always a tough decision. How do you make something satisfying and celebration-worthy that’s not the same trotted out turkey or ham? We turned to our good friends from Mile End Delicatessen in Brooklyn for some tips on how to create seasonal nosh. Co-founded by Noah and Rae Bernamoff, this Montreal-inspired Jewish deli makes smoked meat sandwiches that rival grandma’s cooking. It doesn’t hurt that everything is made from scratch and has been hailed by Saveur as “nothing short of a revelation.” Their advice for a season of big meals, big meats, and big flavor? Tiny holiday canapés made from lox, a Jewish staple. “Lox is a versatile protein that shines just as bright on a holiday hors d’oeuvre platter as it does on the breakfast table. A small slice of lox with a challah or pumpernickel toast and a bit of cream cheese goes a long way,” says Rae. Below is their recipe for a lox belly canapé—along with an accompanying playlist.
1/3 cup whole black peppercorns
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup salt
1 bunch dill
1 2-lb. boneless king salmon filet, skin on
Combine the peppercorns, sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Place 2–3 sprigs of dill in the bottom of a non-reactive baking dish and sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the salt mixture evenly over the bottom of the dish.
Make 2–3 shallow cuts in the skin of the salmon filet. Place the salmon, skin side down, on top of the salt and dill and place a few more sprigs of dill on top of the salmon. Sprinkle the salmon all over with another 1/4 cup of the salt mixture. Reserve the remaining salt mixture. Loosely cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Carefully pour off any liquid that has accumulated in the baking dish. Add another 1/4 cup of the salt mixture to the bottom of the dish and a sprinkle 1/4 cup more over the salmon. Replace the dill sprigs with new ones if they’ve wilted. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.
Repeat this process 2 more times over 2 more days.
On the 5th day, remove the salmon, rinse it thoroughly, and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the salmon on a small drying rack set inside a clean baking dish or over a couple of layers of paper towels. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
To serve, slice very thin.
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