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We believe smoked salmon should not be relegated to a bagel topper. Tonight, try putting it on toast lathered with herb-y butter. Toast can be a complete and satisfying dinner, but in the attempt of heeding our mothers’ advice and balancing food groups, add a little something green on the side; we propose pairing the toasts with seasonally appropriate green beans. You will feel so cosmopolitan and French.
1 pound green beans
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 ounces of the best quality smoked salmon (Norwegian or Wild Alaskan)
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 3/4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped chives or green onions
1/2 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 of a thin, long French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices
We know you have a well-stocked pantry so you'll have olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, honey and butter.
1. Preheat oven to 375° F and bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. In the meantime, snap the stem ends off the beans and rinse them under cold water. Fill a bowl with ice water and set it near the sink.
2. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden and crispy.
3. When the water is boiling rapidly, add the beans to the pot. Cook them for a couple minutes, until bright green and just tender. Drain them and quickly transfer them to the bowl of ice water. Stir the beans around a little, and once they're cool, drain them again. Lay the beans out on a kitchen towel to dry completely. Cut the beans in half, or leave them whole if you prefer.
4. To make the vinaigrette, combine both the vinegars with the mustard, honey and a few generous pinches of salt in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously, until the dressing is emulsified.
5. Your arms don’t get a break just yet! Now for the toast topping -- mix butter, lemon juice and zest, chives, mustard, dill, salt and pepper in a bowl until well blended.
6. Put the beans in a bowl, add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss well.
7. Spread a thick layer of the mustard- chive butter and place a slice of smoked salmon on top of each toast.
If the you're left with the other half of baguette and it happens to go stale -- the community has a few great ideas.
Note: The salmon toast recipe is halved as the original produces 20 toasts, but feel free to make the whole batch.
Photos by James Ransom