These canapés were produced on a regular basis by a great friend, and it was always popular. One day I asked her how she made it.

It was ludicrously simple as she described it – so simple in fact – that I feared it would be impossible to replicate. But I tried it myself, and, much to my surprise, I found I could succeed at it as well.

I think there are, though, four secrets.

  1. The bread, although bog standard, sliced brown, should be fresh.
  2. You need to cut off the crusts.
  3. And you need to be generous with the smoked salmon.
  4. The butter must be at room temperature.


Here’s what to do to make the smoked salmon canapés


For six people


  • 6 slices bog-standard, sliced brown bread
  • 400g/14 oz smoked salmon – she and I use John Ross’s
  • 1 lemon
  • butter for spreading, at room temperature
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. spread the bread with the butter.
  2. pile the salmon over it.
  3. cut off the crusts – put any slivers of salmon that you have cut off, back on with their brethren
  4. cut into squares approximately 2″/5 cm square
  5. squeeze the lemon over and grind over the pepper
  6. serve immediately – or you can make up to an hour ahead, and cover with moistened kitchen paper to stop them drying out.


This post is dedicated to Isabella Cunynghame, with thanks.


smoked salmon canapes recipe