Feeling stretched? Everyone is juggling a bunch of tasks at the best of times. But during this time of the year, when you add the shopping, decorating, hosting parties, welcoming house guests, on top of working, parenting, laundry, house cleaning…yeah. I’ll stop now because I’m probably stressing myself and you even more.
Did you know that smoked salmon can help? Don’t believe me? Really, it’s not a random tangent at all!
This smoked salmon baguette with dill butter is a pinch hitter extraordinaire! It can be served as a party bite, or as a party sandwich platter. You can prepare it for your family and house guests with minimum effort. And it can be served for breakfast, lunch, or afternoon tea (hey, I know some people that still do that!). It can even be the main dish at dinner, if you want.
Regardless of how you serve it, one thing is certain. Everyone will be impressed with the elegant and absolutely delicious offering, which will take you no time at all to assemble. That’s right, assemble, because this dish requires no cooking whatsoever. See? That’s why it helps reduce stress!
This recipe is slightly adapted from a version published by Epicurious magazine. To be honest, I don’t remember the issue because it is so simple that I never had to refer to the recipe again after making it the first time. My alterations to the original have more to do with the balance of the ingredients and the presentation. Their recipe called for open-faced canapés. But I found that a little messy to eat, so I decided that small portion sandwiches was the way to go.
Let’s see what we need to make Smoked Salmon Baguettes with dill butter
Ha! I bet you didn’t expect the watercress, huh? It’s not in the title, but it adds a beautiful peppery contrast to the buttery smoked salmon. I always make it with watercress, if I can find it. But if not, baby arugula will do very nicely.
The key to these smoked salmon baguette sandwiches is that the ingredients should be as fresh as possible. Don’t use dry dill, please. It will not be the same. A fresh baguette is important too. That’s because you want a bit of the crusty crunch with the chewy center. Otherwise, the bread gets a little dry and rubbery.
With these few, simple ingredients, you can see that it is not only easy, but convenient as well. For instance, if you are making it for a party, you can assemble everything at the last minute, just before the guests are due to arrive. Likewise, if you take it to someone else’s party, you can take it unassembled and just put it together there.
Let’s look at the steps for assembling smoked salmon baguettes with dill butter
Start by preparing the dill butter.
I used Irish butter because I could not find anything labeled European-style butter at the store, and the original recipe called for that.
I’m no butter expert, but I went poking around the web and learned that European-style butter generally has a slightly higher milk fat content. It is also usually fermented, giving it a richer taste than the American-style butter.
This Irish butter is a beautiful golden yellow and has an amazingly rich taste. I sincerely doubt that your smoked salmon sandwiches would be ruined if you used everyday butter. However, I do recommend unsalted butter, because you want the taste of sweet cream to shine, and the salmon and capers contain enough salt. So, there is no need to add more.
…or it will be difficult to blend the ingredients like this.
Once the compound butter is mixed, set it aside.
Next, cut the baguette in half crosswise and remove the very tippy ends.
Then cut the bread in half horizontally and spread the Dijon mustard on the bottom half of both cut sections.
Then spread half the butter over the Dijon mustard on each section.
Add half of the watercress in a layer over the butter. Then layer half of the smoked salmon slices.
The original recipe called for half of a baguette. Then the top and bottom were buttered and the ingredients stacked. And then individual portions for canapés were cut from the open-faced stack. That meant that to bite down into one, you had to place your finger on top of the stacked items to keep them from sliding off. I like it better with a little bread on top. It keeps my finger clean and anchors my yummy filling.
Cover with the bread tops and slice into individual small sandwiches. They will each be just over 2 inches long. If serving as a party bite, cut them no more than 1 inch wide.
I use skewers to both hold the pieces together when I cut the bread crosswise, and to help me space the cuts for more evenly-sized sandwiches.
This recipe made 8 small sandwiches.
I had one. Steve had two. Sam took the rest. I think he liked it because the word “amazing” came into play.
Usually I don’t begrudge my children the food they want. But I sure wish Sam had left a sandwich behind! It is SO, SO good!
- 6 tablespoons unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 6 ounces sliced smoked salmon
- 1 French baguette, approximately 20 inches long and 2 inches in diameter
- 1 cup watercress, stems removed
- Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Start by mixing the first three ingredients until well blended, then set aside.
- Next, trim the ends off the baguette, cut in half crosswise, then cut in half horizontally.
- On the bottom half of each section, spread the Dijon mustard to taste, careful not to spread too thickly.
- Then spread the compound butter over the Dijon mustard, equally between each section.
- Next, stack half of the watercress and half of the smoked salmon over the butter.
- Place the top of the baguette over each section and cut each section into 4 equal parts.