The word for Stephanie Izard is fun. She's the first female winner of Top Chef, a highly acclaimed Chicago restaurateur, took home the title of Iron Chef, and recently released the cookbook, Gather & Graze. Maybe you're thinking, um, where does fun fit into all that? Believe me, it does. As Izard says in her introduction, the most important question servers ask diners at her flagship restaurant, Girl & the Goat is "are you having a good time?" And that's what this cookbook is all about. Making food that is delicious, rich with complex flavors, not fussy to prepare or to eat, and shared with friends and family. In Gather & Graze Izard includes helpful tips, notes, and sample menus, encouraging readers to adapt them to everyday life; mix, match, have fun.
We asked Izard, who dedicated Gather & Graze to her mom, to choose a Mother's Day recipe from the book and share her thoughts on it. Her choice of Smoked Salmon Toast with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette is inspired simplicity with every bit of the wow factor in beauty and flavor that mom deserves.
*Gather & Graze was an editors' pick for the Best Cookbooks of April
Growing up, every year my mom's brothers would send us a big side of smoked salmon at Christmas time. One of my first food memories is being at home over Christmas eating this smoked salmon with my family. Ever since then, I've been a huge fan! This dish is a light and springy take on smoked salmon that's perfect for Mother's Day! -- Stephanie Izard
Smoked Salmon Toast with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette
Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Spread
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces good-quality thinly sliced smoked salmon
Kosher salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon sambal oelek
1 pound fresh salmon fillet
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups arugula
½ cup shaved fennel bulb
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sorrel
¾ cup blackberries, quartered
Mix the cream cheese spread: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a spoon, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Add the smoked salmon in small pieces and incorporate well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, and sambal oelek in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt. Season the fresh salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and cook, turning once, to medium well, 6 minutes per side. Set aside to cool before removing the skin.
Slice the bread on the bias into 1-inch-thick slices. Butter both sides of each slice and toast in a pan over medium heat until golden brown and crunchy, 4 minutes per side. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Schmear one side of the bread slices with the smoked salmon cream cheese. Break apart the cooked salmon with your fingers into small chunks. Scatter the pieces on top of the cream cheese.
In a medium bowl, toss the arugula, fennel, mint, sorrel, and blackberries with a splash of the chile-lime vinaigrette. Top the salmon with the dressed salad and serve.
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