Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Cheese Toasts with Salmon & Tarragon

Save a few cheesy loaves in the freezer for when you need a breezy-but-beautiful canapé.

Recipe: Ruth Pretty  Photo and styling: Carolyn Robertson

Makes: about 64 canapés


3 Cheese Gems (recipe follows)
100g salmon, bone out (use smoked salmon if preferred)
olive oil, for brushing the salmon
flaky sea salt
freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 lemon
¾ cup prepared mayonnaise
french tarragon leaves, to garnish


Heat the oven to 180°C. Put the salmon on a lightly greased baking tray. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut each Cheese Gem into 6 to 8 slices. Using a preheated barbecue flat plate or a heavy skillet heated on the stovetop, brown the pieces on each side.

Stir the lemon zest and half the juice through the mayonnaise then spread this generously on the toasted slices. Pour remaining lemon juice over the salmon and break into rough pieces. Arrange on the cheese gem slices and garnish with tarragon. Serve immediately.

Cook’s tip: Sliced cucumber is an excellent substitution for the Cheese Gems. Pile the lemony mayonnaise, salmon and tarragon onto 1.5cm slices for an equally delicious canapé.

Cheese Gems

Make these cheesy loaves in a mini loaf-form tin and slice for canapés. The loaves (each a handsome single portion) are also handy to keep in the freezer.

Makes: 8 mini loaves


140g plain flour
140g self-raising flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
240g coarsely grated tasty cheese (ready-grated is perfect)
250ml milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

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Heat oven to 160°C. Lightly grease with baking spray a standard-sized loaf tin or a tray of 8 mini loaf-form tins.

Sift the flours, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the egg and milk. Mix gently with a wooden spoon until just combined, and the mixture is neither dry nor sloppy. (Beware of over-mixing.) Divide mixture evenly into prepared loaf forms. Bake mini loaves for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. (A standard loaf will take 45 to 50 minutes to cook.)

Remove from the oven and cool completely, then remove from loaf tins. Store covered in the pantry for up to 36 hours or freeze for up to three months.

Cook’s tip: Instead of making mini loaves, use a standard-sized loaf tin to make one large loaf.


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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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