It was at my first restaurant job, at 16 years old, that I fell in love with smoked salmon. We were allowed meals on the house during our brief breaks, and that was my first opportunity to experiment with smearing a perfectly toasted bagel with cream cheese, press in chopped green olives, and then top it with copious amounts of smoked salmon. My co-workers were not impressed. I was head over heels.
Just starting-to-melt cream cheese covering crunchy yet airy warm, toasty bread, topped with the slightly salty fish, became my go-to treat-breakfast for years after, not only for (what I perceive to be) its well-rounded taste and textural qualities, but for its aesthetics as well. Even if you don’t have a fish-crush on salmon like I do, it’s hard to deny the beauty of the contrast of bright salmon atop the stark whiteness of cream cheese underscored by golden toasted bread (unless you take it up a notch and use pumpernickel – my absolute favorite- which elevates the whole dish to a visual art form).
So, clearly, smoked salmon always equals fancy breakfast food to me.
However, there are obviously other uses for thinly sliced cold fish, and this appetizer version is an elevated handheld appetizer take on one of my first adult breakfast loves.
The creamy, citrus-spiked fresh spread offsets the saltiness of the fish while the crostini adds a complementary crunchy texture. It’s so incredibly simple to make that you can nosh on it on Friday night, or you can serve it to guests for your holiday party. It’s simple, it’s affordable, and it’s just plain pretty.
- 8 oz smoked salmon
- Dill dip (see below)
- Green onions
- 1 16 oz container fat free sour cream
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh dill
- Slice baguette into thin slices
- Spread dip on slices
- Top with small slices of smoked salmon
- Sprinkle sliced green onions on top
- Storage: Store individual ingredients separately and prepare on the day intended to serve to avoid sogginess of bread.
- Purchase the bread the day before intending to serve so it is crunchy and toothsome. If the bread is fresh, slice as advised, then toast briefly on a cookie sheet for a few minutes.
- Salmon is easier to work with when it's cooler. If you are comfortable pulling off slices by hand, use straight from the refrigerator. If you want it to be sturdier in order to cut or precisely place, freeze it for 15 - 30 minutes before working with it.
- For affordable smoked salmon, check the seafood section at your local grocer for trimmings. Stores like Harris Teeter often sell containers of the trimmings that are far less expensive than the pre-packaged slices. Also, Trader Joe's often sells packaged smoked salmon at reasonable prices.