5 slices pumpernickel bread, preferably freshly sliced from a whole loaf
1–1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
15 quail eggs
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
100–150 grams smoked salmon
Chives and tarragon, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Toast each slice of pumpernickel bread just to give it a little texture and, using a two-inch cookie cutter, cut three rounds out of each slice and set aside.
Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large frying pan set over medium heat and allow it to come up to temperature. Using a small pairing knife to assist, crack seven or eight quail eggs into the pan and fry for one to two minutes or until done to your liking. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and set these eggs aside on a plate. Pour the remaining oil into the frying pan and continue to fry the remaining eggs, seasoning and setting aside until you are ready to assemble your hors d’oeuvres.
In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, horseradish, chopped chives, and tarragon. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
To assemble your hors d’oeuvres, spread a little dollop of the cream cheese mixture onto each pumpernickel round then top with a little bundle of smoked salmon. If you really want to fancy these guys up, use the same cookie cutter you used for the bread to neaten up the edges of the fried quail eggs by cutting them into circles with the yolk in the centre. Drape an egg over the top of each hors d’oeuvre, season with a little pepper, and garnish with some chives and tarragon.
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