During the summer, I shared this Instagram one weekend when, on a whim, I had made these little gravlax tartines for brunch one day. I’ve had a couple requests in comments and what not to share how I made these, so I thought I would oblige! I love making tartines like this, because they’re really easy, you can use whatever you have on hand, and you can make them as simple or as complex as you want. Plus, they’re great for entertaining — I would totally put these out at a book club or brunch/lunch party).
In making these, I chose to garnish the tartines with gravlax instead of smoked salmon. I don’t know what it is, I just prefer it — I think it’s because gravlax typically isn’t smoked, and is cured with salt, sugar, and herbs. The non-smoked flavor just tastes cleaner and more delish to me, and I like tasting all the various herbs used in the curing process. But if you can’t find gravlax, smoked salmon is totally fine to use!
The secret ingredient in this recipe is definitely the shaved lemon. Have you ever eaten lemon rind? When cut into very fine pieces like in this recipe, it doesn’t taste bitter, really. In fact, it adds a wonderful brightness to these little sandwiches, and you simply can’t skip using it!
Get the recipe for these below…
Gravlax Tartines with Herbed Cream Cheese and Shaved Lemon
For the cream cheese
4 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp mixed fresh chopped herbs (you could use dill, chive, parsley, thyme, whatever you like or have around)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon’s worth. Once zested, you can set this lemon aside and use it in another recipe)
— kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5-6 slices of sourdough bread
4 oz thinly sliced gravlax
1 kumato or other vine tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon (a separate one from the one you used for zest)
Combine all the ingredients for the cream cheese in a small bowl, and mix with a spoon until very well combined and spreadable. Cut an end off of the lemon you’re using for the shaved lemon pieces. Using a mandolin or similar slicing device, shave the lemon in whole rounds at about a .5mm width. Remove any visible seeds from the pieces, and set aside.
Toast the bread (I do it all at once in the oven) until each piece is lightly toasted and crisp, but not browned.
Set the toasted bread on a cutting board, and begin assembling. Spread some of the cream cheese on each piece. Then, layer the gravlax on top. You may need to tear pieces of the fish to ensure it fits on each piece of bread and is well distributed. Top the fish with a slice or two of the tomato, then scatter a few slices of onion on top (as much as you want!). Finally, spread some of the shaved lemon pieces on top of each tartine.
You can serve the tartines as they are, in larger pieces, or do as I’ve done, and use a serrated knife to cut them into smaller pieces (this can make for easier sharing if you’re serving these to several people). Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Recipe note: To shave lemon, I use this basic mandoline. I like it because it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and even after many years, the blade has stayed sharp. It gets the job done when I need slices like this! If you don’t have a mandoline slicer and don’t want to buy one, just grab your sharpest knife and slowly and carefully make the thinnest cuts you can. The thicker the cut of lemon, the more bitter the rind will taste, so try to slice thinly!