Reykjavik Salmon Salad

Man! I love a European buffet breakfast.

When Dave and I visited Reykjavik, Iceland last March (photos!), our hotel served up an epic buffet every morning in the breakfast room. I loved it so much, I documented every detail in my journal. (The items that are underlined are the ones I ate. My travel journals are a treasure trove of my extreme nerdiness).


Snippet of Melissa Joulwan's Reykjavik travel journal with list of buffet foods


It was my first time trying pickled herring, and it was weird but good. I didn’t expect it to be sweet, but once I got over the shock, I was all about it. The smoked salmon in Reykjavik is unlike any smoked salmon I’ve eaten before. It was beyond tender; silky is the adjective. Silky salmon! I should also mention that skyr, Icelandic yogurt, is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It’s unimaginably thick, rich, and creamy with a very mild tang. It’s like a happy marriage of Greek yogurt and sour cream, and I wish I had some right now.

One of the reasons I love breakfast buffets is because I can make the food however I want, and I love to put together tasty combos. This recipe is the result of the stunningly fresh and flavorful Icelandic ingredients I piled on my plate each morning. It’s salty, crispy, creamy, cool—and whenever I eat it, it reminds me of our Icelandic adventures.

I’ve give you two options because sometimes you want to fuss, and sometimes you just gotta eat.

When I was on vacation, I had the time to be fancy, so I made myself breakfast hors d’oeuvres every morning. At home? Not so much. I just plop the ingredients in a bowl and pile it into my mouth. You do you.

Option 1: Fancy

Smoked salmon canapes with homemade mayo, boiled egg slices, fresh dill, and cucumber slices |

Option 2: Casual

Reykjavik Salmon Salad

Serves 1 | Prep 10 minutes | Whole30 compliant

Per Person:
  • 4-5 ounces smoked salmon

  • 1-2 boiled eggs

  • 1/2 cucumber

  • dill pickles

  • homemade mayo

  • fresh dill

  • a wedge or two of fresh lemon


Decide if you’re going to be fancy or casual.


To be fancy.

Cut the cucumber, pickle, and boiled eggs into even slices, then stack the ingredients: cucumber, egg, pickle, salmon, dollop of mayo, fresh dill, ground black pepper, fresh lemon juice.

Smoked salmon canapes with homemade mayo, boiled egg slices, fresh dill, and cucumber slices |


To be casual.

Cut the cucumber and pickles into thin half-moon. Slice the boiled eggs into quarters. Place salmon, cucumber, and pickles in a bowl and arrange the eggs on top. Add a dollop of mayo, plenty of dill, and a sprinkling of ground black pepper, then squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the whole shebang.

Let’s Talk About The Eggs

When I cook my eggs for this salad, I use the technique from my post Perfectly Peelable Hard-Boiled Eggs, but simmer them for just 9 minutes. NINE MINUTES EXACTLY! This produces whites that are firm and yolks that are perfectly gelled. Nine minutes, friends; this is the magic number.

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