Last weekend, I celebrated a friend’s birthday at Malibu Wines Tasting Room. A dozen friends and I ventured to the Santa Monica Mountains, where we sipped vino under the bright sun and toasted to the coming summer. Of course, as well, we ate! Each person brought an array light nipplets to share with the group. We passed around thin slices of mortadella, stuffed gourmet olives, and strawberries dipped in goat cheese among other things. Of course, I had to bring something too. My contribution to our afternoon, birthday picnic would be an oversized crostini featuring smoked salmon and avocado.
This dish was a recreation from Sycamore Kitchen, a popular bakery and cafe in the heart of Los Angeles. At lunch they serve a cured salmon toast, a simple open-faced sandwich with additions of avocado, capers, hard boiled eggs, radishes, and crème fraiche. This savory combo of ingredients was the perfect splash of summer I was looking to bring to the party, something light, simple, and refreshing. Without their exact recipe available, I let my taste buds lead the way, adding in a few of my own original twists here and there.
In case you forgot, Chrystal and I have many friends who are picky eaters. Thus, I decided to braise the radishes in my version to soften their raw punch. I also mixed in some fresh herbs with the crème fraiche, and swapped out the salmon for prosciutto on a few of the servings, just to have some variety. These guys make for a marvelous appetizer, afternoon snack, light meal, or as in our case, a nice addition to any outdoor food gathering. Get ready! Summer is just around the corner.
Smoked Salmon and Prosciutto Toasts – Serves 10-12 (inspired by Sycamore Kitchen)
6 radishes, julienne cut
2/3 cup vegetable stock
4 ounces crème fraiche
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, rough chopped
Sea salt flakes, for seasoning
6 slices whole wheat nut bread, toasted
2 ripe avocados, thinly sliced
8 ounces smoke salmon slices
4 ounces prosciutto slices
2 chilled hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup capers, drained
Cracked black pepper
1. In a medium saute pan, bring radishes and stock to a simmer over medium-high heat. Let reduce completely, about 8 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, mix together crème fraiche, chopped parsley and a dash of salt. Set aside.
Assemble by spreading about a teaspoon of crème fraiche mixture over toasts, top with a few slices of avocado, a slice of salmon or prosciutto, then sprinkle with some cooled radishes, egg pieces, capers, and a dash of salt and cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
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