Smoked Salmon Salad on Toasts / From my "100 Perfect Pairings" cookbook, an easy app or snack that goes great with both Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine. #salmon #salmonsalad #appetizer #salmonappetizer

Smoked Salmon Salad on Toasts

Print Recipe

Adapted from the Sauvignon Blanc chapter of “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, 2010)

Revised very slightly December 2023 for bigger, prettier chunks of salmon

The hardest thing about making this dish is finding smoked salmon, which should be pretty easy if you have a decent specialty food store in your midst. But be sure it’s smoked, not cured—in other words, use a dry, flaky, smoked fish, not a moist, thinly sliced fish like lox or gravlax. The salad is also delicious using smoked trout, or as a bagel or sandwich spread.

For my book, it was designed to go with Sauvignon Blanc—the smoke being a great complement to the wine, as is the slightly spicy watercress. But this easy app is creamy and slightly fancy-feeling, which also makes it a great partner for sparkling wine. The bubbles both cut through the richness and enhance the snazzy-ness.

Makes 16 toasts

  • 1 lemon
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 3 or 4 chunks
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, skin removed, flaked
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped watercress or flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 16 slices cocktail bread, thinly sliced baguette or baton, or small pieces of sliced bread, toasted (see below)

Use a vegetable peeler to shave the zest from the lemon. Thinly slice the zest crosswise, for small julienned pieces. Set aside.

Halve the lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice. In a medium bowl, combine the zest, juice, cream cheese, and horseradish. Add the salmon and watercress or parsley, lightly mashing the salmon to make a chunky paste. (You can prepare the salmon salad up to 4 hours in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)

Taste, ideally with your wine, and add more lemon juice if you like. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the salmon mixture on each of the toasts. Garnish with watercress or parsley leaves and serve.

FOOD + WINE TIP Lighter smoky foods—like veggies or fish—go particularly well with Fume Blanc, a kind of Sauvignon Blanc that often has a little oak aging, giving it a similarly woody, smoky quality.

NOTE While this will work with any kind of bread, I recommend pumpernickel or dark rye. It adds a flavor note that works well with the overall dish.

TO TOAST BREAD Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, turning halfway through. (You can prepare the toasts up to a day in advance, storing them in an airtight container at room temperature.)

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