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This is the smoked salmon we always enjoy when we go and visit Dimi's nona (godmother). It's wonderful - simple, beautiful and so tasty! Thank you, nona, for always making this for us and making us feel special. To give credit where it is due, Dina got the recipe from 'The Christmas Table' by Carolyn Miller.
- 1⁄4 cup pistachios
- 5 -6 ounces fresh mild white goat cheese, room temperature
- 5 -6 ounces neufchatel cheese, room temperature (I use low fat Philadelphia cream cheese)
- freshly ground white pepper
- 2 ounces smoked salmon, preferably scraps, minced (1/2 cup, packed)
- thin slices baguette
- Place the pistachios in a small dry skillet and stir over medium heat until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Pour the pistachios into a colander and stir and shake them over the sink to cool them and to remove some of the skins. Chop the pistachios and set them aside.
- In a small bowl, blend together the two cheeses and a few grinds of white pepper until smooth. Line a deep 3 or 4-cup bowl or fluted mold with plastic wrap. Spoon one third of the cheese mixture inside and pack it down; level the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the minced salmon evenly over the cheese and press it down with the back of a tablespoon. Spoon another third of the cheese over the salmon, pack it down, and level the top with a spatula. Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of the pistachios evenly over the cheese and press it down with the back of a tablespoon. Spoon in the remaining cheese, pack it down, and level the top. Cover with the overlapping plastic wrap and chill for 2 or 3 hours.
- Uncover the top of the cheese, turn the bowl upside down, and unmold the cheese onto a large plate. Remove the plastic and sprinkle the reserved pistachios on top of the torta. Let the torta sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Circle the cheese with crostini and baguette slices and serve with 2 knives for cutting into wedges and spreading on the crostini and baguette slices.