- 3⁄4 (12 tablespoons) cup clarified butter (see below)
- 24 thin slices of fine-textured white bread, crusts removed
- 9 ounces Gruyère cheese, sliced paper thin
- 10 to 12 ounces Caspian Sea Osetra or sevruga caviar, or a good American sturgeon caviar
- 12 slices smoked Atlantic salmon (about 1⁄2 pound)
Place the bread on a work surface. Cover 12 slices with a single layer of cheese. Spread a thin layer of caviar on the cheese. Cover with the salmon, trimmed to fit exactly to the edge of the bread. Top each sandwich with remaining slices of bread.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter in a large nonstick skillet. Place several sandwiches in the skillet in a single layer and sauté over medium heat, pressing down very gently with a spatula (but not forcing any of the caviar to ooze out) until lightly browned on one side. Add a little more butter, turn the sandwiches, and brown the second side. Remove the sandwiches to a warm platter and repeat until all sandwiches are fried.
To serve, cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal, arrange on a serving platter, and serve while still warm.
Editor’s Note: To clarify butter, slowly melt 2 sticks cut-up unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. As the butter melts, the milk solids will sink to the bottom, with a layer of clear butter on top. Carefully pour the clear—clarified—butter into a bowl, discarding the milk solids in the pan. Clarified butter is preferred here because when used for sautéing it burns less rapidly than butter with the milk solids in tact.