Lox and Chive Tapas

The summer season is upon us, and summer’s brightness bursts out from all directions.  Farmer’s market stands are overflowing with mountains of gorgeous produce.  Jasmine blooms and charcoal grills fill the air with sweet scents. Lavender blossoms flutter down from the branches of Jacaranda trees to litter the streets.  Hearty stews and comforting casseroles give way to crisp salads and colorful produce preps.  Pale skin begins to toast to a warm sun-kissed bronze.  I am energized by the possibilities of the summer season.  Where will my weekend adventures take me?  Who will I meet along the way?  Which stories will be shared around the campfire?  How many fresh recipes will I discover?  On the edge of summer, anything can happen.  I breathe in deep and soak it all up.

Warmer weather and longer days bring with them my favorite things: later sunset surf sessions, mellow backyard barbecues, and wine-paired outdoor concert series.  As all of these activities ramp up, I find myself with less and less time to prepare complex meals in the kitchen.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to eat well.  In fact, summer is an opportunity for a whole new kitchen challenge:  how to transform the freshest produce into a beautiful, nutrient dense meal in 30 minutes or less.

In honor of summer, Vivacious Dish is dedicated this month to bright and fresh meals that are quick to prepare and oh so supportive of that bikini bod (AKA nutrient dense and grain free).  Because we all deserve to eat well, look great and be our healthiest selves.

Thanks to this month’s Paleo Pen Pal, Jessica, for inspiring these light and elegant Lox and Chive Tapas.  In honor of Jessica’s hometown of Long Island, I wanted to recreate one my favorite flavors from my summertime trip to Manhattan a few years ago:  smoked salmon.  And what better complement than fresh, flat-leaf chives?

If you’re looking for a quick, nutrient dense appetizer that is sure to please the palette and set off a bright summer meal, these Lox and Chive Tapas are your go-to hors d’oeuvre.  Or just make a few as a snack while you’re running out the door to your next summer adventure.

For more quick and healthy Paleo meals perfect for busy professionals, check out Jessica’s blog: The Paleo Professional.

Notes:

You can make the Cashew Cream Cheese up to a week in advance.  When you’re ready to make your Lox and Chive Tapas, just snip enough fresh chives for your preferred serving size and fold them in to the Cashew Cream Cheese.

Add ¼ cup more filtered water while pureeing my original Cashew Cream Cheese for the creamier version used here.

lox and chive tapas

  • YIELD: 24 tapas (8 Servings)
  • PREP: 15 mins

This summery Paleo appetizer combines the richness of smoked salmon with creamy cashew cheese, savory heirloom tomatoes, crisp cucumber and fresh chives.

ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 bunch flat leaf chives rinsed and shaken dry
  • 4 oz smoked wild salmon
  • 8 baby heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 organic English cucumber

instructions

  1. Prepare the cashew cream cheese using the raw cashews (soaked overnight), filtered water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt in advance by following the linked recipe in the post above. Add an additional 1/4 cup filtered water to the original recipe (making 1/2 cup water total) while pureeing to make the cream cheese extra creamy.
  2. Snip 1/2 the bunch of chives (about 25 stems) into mm-size strips using kitchen sheers. Discard the robust bases of the greens. Fold chives into 1/2 cup of cashew cream cheese. Flat leaf chives work particularly well.
  3. Slice baby heirloom tomatoes crosswise into 1/3 inch rounds. Slice English cucumber on a diagonal into 1/3 inch ovals. Tear smoked salmon (lox) into 1-1/2 inch strips. 
  4. Build tapas by layering a teaspoon of cashew-chive cream cheese on top of the sliced cucumber, then tomato slice and a strip of smoked salmon. Garnish by wrapping a single chive leaf around the bottom of the cucumber and tying on top in a single bow. Trim the chive leaf tips on a diagonal to your preferred length. Enjoy!