Serves 6 to 8
Perfect for a host or hostess in a hurry, this stylish molded dish requires no cooking. Serve it for Sunday brunch with bagels or at a buffet accompanied by crusty bread. Choosing a good natural cream cheese without added gums and a flavorful smoked salmon will determine the final flavor and texture of the dish.
- 1 pound cream cheese
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons minced chives, divided
- Water as needed
- ½ cup finely chopped smoked salmon
- Place half of the cream cheese in a small bowl. Soften it with a fork, add ½ cup chives, and mix together. If necessary, add a few teaspoons of water to make the mixture hold together and still be spreadable. Do not add too much, or the torta will be too soft to hold its shape.
- Drape a small piece of cheesecloth in a 2½ to 3-cup mold or straight-sided bowl. With a rubber spatula, spread the chive/cheese mixture in the bottom of the mold, smoothing it out and filling any air holes.
- Place the remaining cheese and the salmon in another bowl and mix well. Spread the salmon-cheese mixture on top of the chive-cheese mixture.
- Unmold it immediately or refrigerate for an hour or two until ready to serve. To unmold the torta, invert a small serving plate on top of the mold, making sure that the mold is centered on the plate and the ends of the cheesecloth are out of the way. Hold the plate tight on the top of the mold and turn it over. Lift off the mold and gently peel off the cheesecloth. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chives over the top.
Rosalind Creasy is an herb gardener and landscape designer in Los Altos, California, and the author of many books. Her most recent is Herbs: A Country Garden Cookbook, written with Carole Saville.
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