I like finding ways to bring an unexpected touch to classic hors d'oeuvres, like smoked salmon and cream cheese on crackers. Instead of sprinkling the salmon with lemon juice, I added thin slices of preserved lemon from a jar brought back from Paris. My mad-dash trip to gourmet mecca La grande épicerie de Paris late one evening during their extended Christmas hours was worth it.
Preserved lemons were new to me. Also known as pickled lemons, they're preserved in a brine of lemon juice, water and salt, and occasionally other spices. Preserving creates an intensely flavoured fruit with a salty tang. They are often used in Indian or North African cuisine. I'm planning to use the leftover lemons in a Moroccan tajine sometime. I've seen preserved lemons sold in larger mainstream grocery stores so I'm sure they're also available through ethnic grocers.
Rinse preserved lemons under water to remove excess surface salt, then thinly slice. Remove any seeds.
The photo is pretty self-explanatory. To make, spread softened cream cheese on a Triscuit cracker. Add a slice of lemon and a piece of smoked salmon. Top with dill.
Add thinly sliced red onion.
Replace the crackers with thinly-sliced, toasted pumpernickel.