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Salmon Toasts

  • 1 or 2 dense French baguettes
  • 1 scallion, both green and white parts, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, core removed, cut into 1-inch chunks OR 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 rounded teaspoons dried ginger OR 1 quarter-sized slice fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 pound raw fresh salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon OR 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 5 tablespoons sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 20 to 24 small tarragon sprigs, for garnish

Diagonally slice baguette into 1/2-inch thick slices and place on cookie sheet. There should be approximately 20 to 24 slices. Place in 200°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat for other side of slices until dry. Preheat oil in Presto® electric deep fryer. In food processor, mince scallion, fennel or celery, and fresh ginger (if using) until fine. Add salmon, salt and powdered ginger (if using) and mince to paste-like consistency. Add vinegar, lemon juice, cornstarch, egg yolk, pepper and tarragon; process until smooth.

In small bowl, beat egg white until stiff. Fold into salmon paste. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

With spoon or spatula, place a heaping tablespoon of salmon mixture on bread slice, slightly mounding in center and spreading out to edges to seal. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and top with small sprig of tarragon, pressing firmly to adhere. Continue with remaining paste and bread slices and place on tray loosely covered. Refrigerate until ready to fry. (Toasts can be made ahead to this point, wrapped well and frozen. Fry from frozen state.)

Just before serving slide toasts, salmon-side down, into hot oil. Do not crowd fryer. Fry about 3 minutes. Turn over and continue to fry for 1 minute. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel-lined tray. To keep warm, transfer toasts to a wire rack set over a shallow baking pan and place in 200°F oven until remainder are fried.

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