Pumpernickel Domino Bread, Pear Slaw & Smoked Salmon

When I noticed that the bookshelves were bursting again (the last time was so many years ago), I finally gave in to the task that I had been procrastinating for a long time.  Time to give in, accept that we have too many books and to start the herculean task of sorting the books.  And when you succumb to this, there's no excuse anymore (laziness definitely included!) but to grab the feather duster and boxes and start sorting through them one by one.   One box goes to the local library and another box to the recycling bin.  

To say that I love books is putting a restraint on the truth.  I am in fact, crazy about books, starting when I was very young. My very first book collection was Nancy Drew.  They were my most precious property and treated them as such.  I hated dog-earing, writing on the pages and mishandling the pages. I held on to them until it seemed ridiculous for a grown woman to still have them in the bookshelves.  You see, I hate letting go of books.

I completely forgot that I have a small collection of cookbooks and monthly cooking magazines.  With my memory rekindled, I do remember spending so many nights poring over recipes after recipes. Then I stopped looking at them altogether when my family became bigger.  Priority was given to making baby food and simple 15-minute meals.  My goal then was to put something (anything really!) edible on the table when the clock strikes lunch & dinner time.  There was hardly never any spare time to browse leisurely at the cookbooks.

So there I was standing on top of a 3-step ladder, entranced at the mouthwatering pictures of Courses: A Culinary Journey by Princess Cruises. It's a compilation of recipes by Princess Cruises' chefs hailing from 28 different countries. And the cookbook went straight to the kitchen after I saw this particular recipe. I was attracted to the food composition's symmetry and as I read on, I thought it wasn't so complicated after all.

After making sure that pane integrale di segale or pane nero is really the German pumpernickel bread, I called my husband to grab me a pack of pane nero before heading home. I didn't have any Chesire cheese nor did I know where to get it so I used my gorgonzola leftover.  I prepared the bread that night to give the butter time to set for the following day's lunch.  The pear slaw and smoked salmon were easy and fast to prepare.   Apart from the advance preparation of the bread, you can actually compose this dish just a few minutes before serving it.

A table composition is not complete without the props my kids provide me.  This time, they laid off the acorns for a while and gathered some wild flowers for me.  We have so much of these flowers growing everywhere that I actually didn't know that they smell so much of honey.  After going to the kitchen one after the other with their hands full, they asked me to smell and wow, the smell was overpowering!

Being adults, we never really have time to stop and smell the flowers.  We need the kids to remind us in their own innocent ways to slow down and take charge of what is important in life. 

Let me leave you with this wonderful discovery.  I loved every single detail of this dish.  The presentability, the blending of flavors and the easiness of this recipe are assurances that I will repeat this over and over again. 

Pumpernickel Domino Bread, Pear Slaw & Smoked Salmon

Serves 8
  • 600 to 900 grams sliced smoked salmon
  • lime slices
Domino Bread:
  • 400 grams pumpernickel bread, pre-sliced
  • 1-1/4 cups butter
  • 1/3 cup Farmhouse Chesire, grated (I used crumbly gorgonzola.)
  • salt & pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • chives, chopped finely (optional)
Pear Slaw:
  • 2 cups pear, julienne
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, sliced
  • 1/4 cup green apple, brunoise (I just minced mine.)
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper

  1. Buy a good quality, firm pre-sliced pumpernickel.  Soften the butter at room temperature and combine with the Chesire cheese, lime juice, chives, salt & pepper.  
  2. Layer the pumpernickel and butter mixture beginning and ending with the pumpernickel.
  3. Wrap the layered bread with plastic wrap and chill until the butter sets.  I did this procedure the night before.  Slice before serving.
  4. Trim sides of pre-sliced salmon.  Keep them tightly covered with plastic wrap until ready to serve to prevent drying out.  
  5. Working quickly, peel & cut the pear and apple.  Mix with the lime juice in a bowl immediately to prevent from browning.  Mix together all the ingredients and toss the slaw.  Season.
  6. Place 3 or 4 slices of the salmon on each plate.  Top with pear slaw and garnish with the pumpernickel domino bread and a slice of lime.