After my visit to Barney Greengrass last week I wanted to make a recipe that would incorporate the gorgeous eastern nova salmon I tasted and make it the star of the dish. The salmon itself is very tender, gently smoky and a little on the salty side in flavor and since it’s already cooked thanks to the smoking process it struck me as more of a pairing choice. I knew I wanted to do something with herbs (Ina Garten was helpful there) and with a recommendation from one of the Barney Greengrass to use cucumber I was on my way in creating my version of a classic bagel shop creation.
I love the deep comforting flavor of the toasted multi-grain bread with the smoothness of the herbed cream cheese – do let this chill for a bit after mixing the herbs in, it definitely grows in power – and the thin slices of cucumber help balance out the saltiness of the salmon, while still allowing it to shine.
I’m also brainstorming other combinations - with pickled red onion or maybe capers? Something to think about for future incarnations as I continue to explore the flavors and ingredients found in New York’s Jewish delis!
Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Tartines with Herbed Cream Cheese (serves 4)
4 ounces plain cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons minced scallions
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
pinch kosher salt
12 thin slices seedless cucumber, also called English cucumbers
4 slices smoked salmon
4 slices dark, multi-grain bread
Allow the plain cream cheese to come to room temperature, then place in a medium mixing bowl. Mince the scallions, fresh dill, and fresh parsley. Using a fork stir the minced herbs and kosher salt into the cream cheese until evenly combined. Place the seasoned cream cheese into a small ramekin and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to develop and the cream cheese to firm up.
Slice 4 pieces of dark, multi-grain bread (pumpernickel or seedless rye would be good too) about 1/3 inch thick. Toast until lightly browned. Slice the seedless cucumber as thinly as possible.
Spread each piece of toasted bread with a generous layer of the chilled cream cheese, then arrange 2-3 pieces of cucumber on top of the cream cheese, and finish with a slice of smoked salmon. Serve immediately.
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, definitely. I used a medium cutting board, one medium mixing bowl, a chef’s knife, and a bread knife along with measuring spoons and a rubber spatula. Finally, I used a regular home toaster, but a sheet pan in the oven would work too for making the tartines.
The salmon and cream cheese are delicious together and surprisingly filling, so don’t be fooled by the small(ish) portion suggestion. Mike and I each had one as an early evening snack and then discovered that we weren’t really hungry for dinner later. I think this could be a great option for a cocktail party when I want to serve something a little more substantial than crudité, but less than a full meal.