Smoked Salmon: Beyond the Bagel

Salmon canapes. Photo by Keri White

— a schmear of cream cheese, a slice of lox, some capers and sliced red onions — it’s modern manna.

We did a breakfast bagel spread over winter break when we had a bunch of overnight guests and, true to form, my generous husband over bought. We ended up with a dozen or so surplus bagels and a bunch of leftover lox. To be clear, I am not complaining; extra smoked salmon is pretty much always good news, and we sent most of the leftover bagels home with our guests.

I was motivated to create some different ways to use the smoked salmon and came up with the following:

Slap a few slices on avocado toast.

Cut some strips into a green salad.

Roll the salmon with cream cheese or mascarpone and chives in a multigrain wrap and slice it into discs.

Spread toasted baguette slices or crostini with Alouette cheese and top with a piece of smoked salmon.

Make a grain bowl with brown rice, edamame, raw carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers; toss it with soy-ginger dressing and top it with smoked salmon.

Of the various uses I found for the surplus salmon, the canape described below was my favorite. As it happened, I also had some leftover chimichurri sauce, which I had made to accompany a tenderloin roast, and some tortilla chips whose guacamole had been consumed.

Assembling these remnants into a delicious canape was the work of a moment and offered a delightful bite to accompany champagne for a belated New Year’s toast with my daughter and her beau.

I have shared other versions of chimichurri in the past, but the recipe below is my favorite. Using both cilantro and parsley brings an herbal freshness to the sauce, and the red vinegar’s tang delivers a worthy foil to the greens. If you are one of those (unfortunate) folks who taste cilantro as soap, simply skip it and add more parsley.

The sauce was fantastic with the tortilla chip and smoked salmon but can be used on just about anything — fish, meat, poultry, roasted veggies, stirred into tuna salad, slathered on avocado toast; short of dessert, it complements most everything.

Chimichurri Sauce
Makes about ¾ cup

A note on the jalapeno — my crew likes spice, so we add this with the seeds. Omitting the seeds reduces the heat, so that is one way to back off the kick. The pepper is optional, so if your palates are tamer, simply reduce the amount, remove the seeds or omit this ingredient entirely.

½ of a small red onion
(piece should be the size of a Ping-Pong ball)
2 garlic cloves
½ of a fresh jalapeno pepper
1 cup Italian parsley, rinsed, drained, and firmly packed
½ cup cilantro, rinsed, drained and firmly packed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a mini chopper, blender or food processor, mix all the ingredients until blended. The sauce should retain some texture; it should not be a completely smooth puree.
Store it in a sealed container for about 3 days or freeze it for several months.

Salmon Chimichurri Canapes
Makes 12 canapes

12 best-quality tortilla chips
12 bite-sized pieces of smoked salmon
About ½ cup of chimichurri sauce

Place the chips on a serving plate. Place a piece of salmon on each chip, then top with a teaspoon of chimichurri sauce.

These should be served within an hour or so of preparing to avoid the chips becoming soggy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here