Brauðterta – Icelandic style sandwich loaf: Salmon and egg
Sandwich loaves, or ‘bread cakes’ (in Icelandic: brauðtertur) as they are called in Iceland, are an enduring presence at Icelandic celebrations where cakes are served. While not an Icelandic invention (I think they may have originated in the USA, or possibly in Sweden), they have been popular here for at least 50 years and there seems to be no stopping them. While the fillings change according to fashion and whim and we don’t use half as much mayonnaise in them as we once did, they continue to be a vehicle for cooks to display their talents with garnish, and a savoury palate cleanser in between nibbles of all the sweet stuff that's usually served at traditional birthday parties.
They are generally made from white bread, and you can buy pre-cut bread for the purpose.
There are two kinds of sandwich cake bread available. One is basically a pan-baked loaf of white sandwich bread that has been sliced lengthwise, like the loaf here (there's also a recipe). The crusts are generally removed, leaving between 4 and 6 long slices of bread.
The other kind are rolls. These are big, thin slices of bread that look like the cake layer of a jelly roll before it's rolled up. They can either be rolled up or layered to make large sandwich cakes.
If you are unable to find either of these types of bread, you can use sliced bread instead. This video shows how (I would remove the crusts, but that's just my preference).
These cakes can be made using many sandwich fillings or toppings for an open sandwich (e.g. Danish smörrebröd), but certain fillings are more common than others.
The most common are:
- Ham and asparagus
- Ham and egg
- Shrimp salad (shrimp, egg and ham or shrimp, ham and pineapple)
- Roast beef (roast beef with French-fried onions, remoulade sauce, and either sliced pickled cucumber or slices of canned peaches or apricots)
- Tuna spread (tuna and egg and sometimes either chopped onion or sweet corn)
- Salmon and egg
Traditionally, the fillings are held together with mayonnaise.
These days, a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream is generally used, and sometimes the mayonnaise is dispersed with and cream cheese is used instead.
I never use a recipe myself, but when you have never made one of these before a recipe is a good starting point. I rarely get the opportunity to make sandwich loaves, but I plan to take photos whenever I get the chance and will add them to show how these creations can be decorated.
And now for today's featured sandwich loaf:
Salmon & egg sandwich loaf
This is a delicious variation on the traditional salmon and egg salad loaf. A traditional loaf includes mashed hard-boiled eggs, but this uses scrambled eggs instead.
3 layers of sandwich bread
300 g smoked salmon, thinly sliced
5 eggs, hard-boiled
200 g mayonnaise
100 g sour cream
Keep back some extra slices of salmon for garnishing.
Chop the salmon and eggs into small pieces and mix well with the mayo and cream. Chill.
Scrambled eggs with salmon:
3 tbs cream
100 g smoked salmon
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly whip together the eggs and cream and season with salt and pepper. Purée the salmon in a food processor and add to the egg mixture, stirring lightly together. Fry the scrambled eggs until well done and set aside to cool.
Put 1/3 of the salmon spread on the bottom layer of bread, top with the second bread layer, then the scrambled egg, then more bread and end with salmon spread. Smooth the remaining salmon spread on the ends and side of the loaf. Decorate with thin slices of salmon (or cover the whole thing with salmon slices) and garnish with vegetables, e.g. tomato roses, slivers of red bell pepper or cucumber. Salmon roe caviar and slices of hard-boiled egg are also suitable for garnishing.