Smoked Salmon Tarts – They’ll Be SO Impressed…

Okay, this is the greatest.  Not just because it tastes amazing, but because it’s a PUN!  Little salmon bites with cucumber, cream cheese, dill and lemon zest – they’re Smoked Salmon TARTS, get it?  They’re like little tarts, AND they’re tart!  (Please tell me you get it.)  Oh I slay myself…

those little sluts...

those little sluts...

Yes, this one is awesome and easy and tasty AND impressive, because look how pretty they are!  And no baking, no frying, no boiling – just some yummy room temperature fun.  I threw a spontaneous appetizer party tonight for some good friends – just like Ina Garten always does on Barefoot Contessa.  I totally Ina’d tonight, dudes!  I made the Greek Nachos, some special Bad-Ass Bruschetta, which I’ll tell you about soon, and these Smoked Salmon Tarts.  My friends brought wine, and a fabulous feasting time was had by all!  We even forgot to have DINNER afterwards because we were so well-appetized.  So, grab your taste buds (and your close buds – oh I slay myself) and come with me…Serves: 5-ish people (20 pieces)

Big knife
Cheese grater
Regular knife

Smoked salmon
Pumpernickel or other soft brown bread
Cream cheese
Fresh dill


Are you ready for the easiness?  First take 5 slices of bread and cut them into quarters.  (I tried to be all fancy and make circles with the top of a spice jar – I really thought this was genius – but it just wasn’t cutting through the bread, the top kept slipping in my hands, and I had to throw out all the left over edges, which seemed so, so, so NOT Punky Chef of me.  So I gave up and cut the damn things in quarters.  I have to say, I didn’t hear any complaints.) 

Spread some cream cheese on each piece of bread – not too much, just a schmear.  Now cut 20 thin slices of cucumber and place one on each.  Try to keep these really thin – it’s more of a texture thing to clean your palate between the cream cheese and the salmon.  You don’t want to have a cucumber sandwich on your hands.  (For that sensation, see my recipe for The Limerick.  Oh yes, we got it all here at The Punky Chef.)

Pull the smoked salmon out of the package, slice it twice lengthwise and then twice across with your big knife – making nine sections.  This is not an exact science – depending on the brand of smoked salmon, you might need to just eyeball it, but this is how I did it tonight.  Place one square of smoked salmon on each cucumber.

Loosely chop some fresh dill (Ina Garten – my cooking idol – is SO good at the herb choppage.  She sorta “pushes” the leaves off the stalks with her big knife and then chops them quickly.  I’m not as good at the “pushing” and slower at the chopping, but it’s all tasty anyway.)  Sprinkle a few pieces of chopped dill on each tart – not too much or that’s all you’ll taste.  You just want to add some flavor.

Now use your cheese grater to get the zest off the lemon.  (Or if you’re actually fancy and you own a microplane grater, go for it, show-off.)  One lemon gave me plenty of zest for my 20 salmon tarts.  Just sprinkle a little bit on each one.  It heightens the flavor AND adds yet another color to this beautiful brown, white, pink, green, and now yellow appetizer.

Cut the lemon in half and just squeeze a little lemon juice over the tarts.  I actually didn’t do this tonight, and was reassured I didn’t need to by my lovely friend Anne, but I’m still thinking about it now, after everyone’s long gone home, which means I definitely want to do it next time.

Now honor thy tarts by choosing a pretty plate (you know I like ’em blue, people) and SERVE and ENJOY!  The zing of the zest and the salt of the salmon mix so well with the smooth cream cheese and edgy dill.  And this is a great appetizer for having friends over because you can make it in advance and just put them in the fridge.  It’s cool if the bread gets slightly hard – it just holds everything better anyway.  They also sit out for awhile at parties and it’s all good – no worrying about hot things cooling or cold things heating.  AND, let’s face it, they are just so adorable…  Almost too cute for Punkiness.  But way too yummy not to be Punky!


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Roger Chapman said,

    I simply LOVE your writing style!!!! 🙂

    Whether in you “Newsletters” or as the Punky Chef, I have as much fun reading your notes as I do trying your recipes!!! …Or listening to your music!!!!

  2. 2

    I’m not sure exactly why but this web site is loading very slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?
    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

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