6 slices of pumpernickel bread or "Texas Toast"
1 package (5.2 ounces) Boursin garlic and herb cheese, at room temperature
1 package (4 ounces) thinly sliced smoked salmon
Zest of 1 lemon (cut into strips)
Black caviar, optional
Toast the bread, then let it cool to room temperature by placing on a rack or leaving in the toaster. If you put the hot toast on a plate, it will steam underneath and become soggy.
Spread 2 to 3 teaspoons of Boursin cheese over each piece of toast. Top with salmon, trimming to fit, if necessary. Use a star cookie cutter to cut each slice into as many stars as possible. Garnish with lemon peel strips. Place caviar in the center of the star.
Arrange on platter and serve.
Cook's notes: Have one of your guests bring a bottle of Domaine Carneros rose sparkling wine to serve with these festive appetizers. They work so well together.
To make the zest, use a sharp citrus stripper to peel long strips from a lemon. Make sure you get only the yellow peel, as the white pith underneath is bitter. If you do this in advance, cover the zest with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap so the lemon curls do not dry out before you use them.
@Recipe nutrition:Nutrition values per serving: 80 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein, 15 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium.
Elizabeth Karmel for the Associated Press