The first restaurant review I wrote in Los Angeles was of what became one of my favourite haunts in my favourite neighbourhood: Local 1205 on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. On return trips the main draw for me was the fantastic baguettes (which, unlike the offerings from my usually beloved Trader Joe's across the street from my apartment actually tasted like real bread), and the delicious cold pressed juice (which is something I'm pretty obsessed with anyway!) that came, instead of in a basic plastic bottle, in a mason jar.
On that first trip, it was my very first time visiting the iconic boulevard (I went on to visit most weekends) and I was starving. Lunch was in order. So we come to the fourth thing I can remember eating in Los Angeles (the first was greasy pizza the night I got off the plane, second roasted vegetable pasta I made myself in my apartment, and the third a kosher hot dog with fantastic pickles and sweet potato fries at Brentwood Country Mart): a classic lox made with Scottish smoked salmon (there was a choice to so many different salmons) and topped off with raw onion, capers and beef tomato. I obviously had a Watermelon pressed juice on the side!
This, obviously is not that tartine, but it is 100% inspired by it. I eat bagels all the time, and I felt that the smoked salmon needed something a little more refined. Enter stage right the simply delicious Walnut Bread, made with crunchy walnut pieces and walnut flour from my local deli. If you can buy walnut bread, I find this makes a fantastic nutty base for salmon tartines and sandwiches, though any type of seed, nut or rye bread would also do. I find walnut bread is also a gateway bread into brown breads, something I didn't used to like.
- 2 Thick Slices Walnut, Brown or Seed Bread
- 3-4 Slices Scottish Smoked Salmon
- 1 tsp Nonpareilles Capers
- 1/4 Red Onion
- 1 Small, Ripe Avocado
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Fleur de Sel Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
First, dress the avocado. Cut it into bite size but still substantial cubes. I know everyone has their own personal way of prepping an avocado. I like to peel mine in halves, then slice. In a small bowl, toss it up with a good pinch of sea salt and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice, being careful not to break up the avocado too much. I know in my recipes I usually say sea salt, but say I prefer French Breton Fleur de Sel, but I do feel it makes all the difference here with the size and flavour of the crystals. Meanwhile, take the bite out of the red onion by slicing it very thinly, and leaving it to soak for about 5 minutes in a small bowl full of cold water.
Assemble the tartines by laying over the smoked salmon, then sprinkling over the capers, red onion (dry it off with kitchen towel first!), and avocado pieces. Finish with a good few grinds of black pepper, and enjoy!
Do you ever try to recreate some of your favourite restaurant dishes, or things that you've eaten on holiday at home? The only ones I've really properly done myself before is my version of the Green Eggs & Ham at The Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica, and my recreation of the now extinct Southern Iced Tea at The Diner, but it is something I really think I ought to do more!