Here’s an elegant yet very quick and easy starter that suits just about any menu: a ‘carpaccio’ of smoked salmon, dressed simply with oil and lemon.
All you need to do is arrange thin slices of smoked salmon on a plate (this is a dish that is best prepared individually for each diner) and spoon over them a citronette that you will have prepared beforehand by processing together a good pour of olive oil (about 1 dl/half a cup), the juice of half a lemon, a few sprigs of parsley, salt and just a smidgen of garlic (say, half a clove) until the lemon and oil have emulsified and the parsley and garlic have been finely minced. Allow to macerate for just 5 minutes or so, and serve with some crusty bread.
NOTES: As many readers will know, the original carpaccio, as invented by Giuseppe Cipriani for his renowned Venice bar, was made with very thinly sliced beef fillets, dressed with a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce. These days, the term applies to a multitude of dishes featuring thinly sliced or pounded meat or fish, including most commonly not just beef, but veal, venison, tuna, swordfish or salmon, usually dressed with oil and lemon seasoned with salt, pepper and aromatic herbs. The charm of using smoked salmon, of course, is that you can buy it pre-sliced, which eliminates an awful lot of work. And the resulting contrast of orange and green, while perhaps not true to Carpaccio’s style, is lovely to behold all the same.