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Smoked Salmon Toasts with Malt Vinegar Syrup

Makes8 servings
  • Active time: 20 min
    Total time: 35 min
The Irish are famous for their smoked salmon, so it’s a natural for a St. Patrick’s Day party. Of course, you don’t have to use Irish smoked salmon for these toasts; any cold–smoked salmon will work well, but if you’re feeling flush, you will be treating yourself to salmon that is super–silky in texture with a distinct smokiness that comes from spending time near smoldering hardwoods such as oak and beechwood. If topping your salmon with anything other than a gentle squeeze of lemon seems like heresy, don’t knock our tangy–sweet malt vinegar syrup until you’ve tried it. You just might get hooked.
Published in Gourmet Live 03.09.11

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mild honey
  • 1 (4-inch long) sprig fresh thyme
  • 16 (1/2-inch thick) diagonal slices from a baguette
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Put baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool.
  • While bread is toasting, boil cider, vinegar, honey, and thyme in a small, nonreactive saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  • Spread toasts with crème fraîche and top with salmon. Drizzle with malt syrup.

COOKS’ NOTES:

  • Bread can be toasted 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Make sure toasts are completely cool before storing them. If they soften slightly overnight, just re–warm them in a 300°F oven for a few minutes.
  • Syrup can be made 3 days ahead and kept chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.
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