Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Smoked Salmon with Herb Pesto on Rye Toasts

There are all kinds of diets out there nowadays - gluten free, paleo, anti-inflamation, blood type - you name it, someone is on it and working in a natural food grocery store I hear them all. I confess that I am always so thankful that my body seems to accept most foods and is apparently allergy free (knock on wood!) So when I was recently diagnosed with a nasty fungal infection (in my ear of all places) and a Chinese herbalist suggested I restrict my diet to help speed my recovery, I was thrilled for the free advice, until I heard the list of no-nos: No fermented foods, eggs, dairy, wheat, sugar, corn, beans or rice.

That translated into no: wine, beer, kombucha, tofu, tempeh, soy sauce, cheese, butter, milk, yogurt, Mexican food of almost any kind or the homemade bread that I make and subsist on. As my friend said, "but that's all you eat!" Right sister, cue the mini violins because I was having quite the pity party!

Basically what I can eat are vegetables, lean meats and non-wheat grains. Since my diet has been about 80% vegan lately, this really was kind of a shock. For a variety of reasons meat has become an accent ingredient or only eaten at other people's homes. So opening my refrigerator and finding mason jars full of homemade yogurt, blueberry preserves, cream fraiche and lots of cooked beans waiting to be transformed into deliciousness used to look like a full pantry. Now it represents fuel for the evil fungus blocking my hearing! So it was time to get even more creative.

Bread is my life - call it carbs, call it fiber, my boat sinks without enough bread in my diet. So while I cannot eat my beloved No Knead Rye Bread because it is half wheat flour, I can eat 100% rye bread and turn it into toasts with salmon. Ahhh, I can see again!

I conceived of the herb pesto as a substitute for the cream cheese usually slathered on bread as a base for smoked salmon. Unlike traditional pesto, it has no nuts and no cheese, so it is more of an herb mash, but pesto just sounds better. This was so good, I might just keep using it instead!

Smoked Salmon with Herb Pesto on Rye Toasts

4 pieces 100% rye bread, cut in quarters
4 pieces smoked salmon, cut in quarters

Herb Pesto
4 cups loosely packed cilantro and parsley (not chopped)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all pesto ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. Adjust for salt and lemon juice to taste. Toast rye until crisp; allow to cool. Spread on herb pesto and top with slices of smoked salmon. Serve at room temperature.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Cauliflower Soup at Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy
Lentil Wild Rice Pilaf at Chez Cayenne
Individual Boston Cream Pies (in a jar) at An Edible Mosaic

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