So apparently “crudites” is pronounced as “kroo-de-teys” à la française and not “kroo-dayts”?! And they’re nothing more than a fancified name for “veggie sticks and dip”?! Well great…I’ve been misled. I’ve been walking around sounding like an absolute caveman. So when my manager at work comes in to plan our final get-together before we end our Busy Season job letting us know he’s making crudités, I stare at him blankly and ask what they are before idiotically exclaiming: “Oh! Veggie sticks?!”. Ah the horrors of being a commoner like me.
Thinking quickly of how I’ll control this apparent culinary faux pas, I volunteered to make an equally fancily named dish: Rillettes de Saumon (aka “Fish Spread” to us peons). I had made it during Bastille Day a while back and remembered how everything tasted better when pronounced in French. So as I walked into his gorgeous apartment complete with a kitchen island, I mentally imagined the soundtrack from “Amélie” as I set about prepping this simple hors d’oeuvre.
Prep/cook time: 20 mins.
Makes: Approx. 20 bites
*A note on Salmon: Get wild-caught salmon. Why wild? Because that fake salmon crap is artificially colored red and is horrible for you. Read this Seattle Times article from last December if you don’t believe me.
1 lb. Wild-caught Salmon (again I emphasize…do NOT get farm-raised…even if it looks redder than a sunburnt frat boy), skinned and sliced in 1″ chunks
4 oz. Smoked Salmon (optional to give it a greater depth of flavor), sliced in 1″ chunks
3 scallion stalks, sliced thinly
1/2 c. mayo
Juice of 1 lemon
1 baguette, sliced on a bias (ie…diagonally) about 3/4″ thick (or thinner if you prefer to get more crunch while toasting)
4 – 5 radishes, sliced thinly
1) Heat some water in a pot and throw in your WILD Salmon to boil.
2) Meanwhile, set your oven to 350 and chop your vegetables as stated above.
3) Once the salmon has cooked through (about 5 – 10 mins.), drain the water well to prevent a soggy mess, and place the salmon in a mixing bowl.
4) The oven should be ready so slide your baguette slices in (you can drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of them if you’d like). Bake for 5 – 8 mins. or until lightly toasted.
5) Toss in your smoked salmon, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and scallions. Mix in your mayo a bit at a time just so you don’t over do it. It’s not tuna salad after all. Lightly mash mixture with a fork taking care not to over do it…otherwise you end up with a paste.
6) Spoon a bit of the salmon mixture onto the now toasty bread. To score some extra bougie points, try shaping them into “quenelles” like so:
7) Stick a radish slice on top, crack some black pepper over the whole thing and serve with a flourish.
When you have as cultured a manager as mine who serves fine cheeses, meats, and quince paste (where does he find this stuff?!) on some of the most well put-together table settings, well….it pays to do a little research. In the end, the libations that came pouring steadily as the night went on tossed any modicum of sophistication I tried to bring and the previously uppity soundtrack I had in my head suddenly turned into French Rap (Google “Rohff”…you’re welcome). As they say: C’est la vie.