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Smoked Salmon with Edamame, Cherry and Shiso

This filling yet light dish is a visual feast. It's a lovely first course for just about any dinner menu. Fresh edamame in the pod can be hard to find (and are a bit of a hassle to work with), so I use frozen, already shelled edamame, which are boiled for about 5 minutes, straight from the freezer. Shiso, a mint-like plant also known as perilla, may be challenging to find; mint is a good substitution, but check at Asian markets. Great with a glass of champagne. — Eric Gower, author of The Breakaway Cook (Morrow Cookbooks 2007)

Makes 4 starter servings

1 tablespoon chopped shiso leaves (about 5), plus a little more for garnish

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8–10 large Bing (or other) cherries, pitted and chopped, plus a few extra for garnish

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Coarse sea salt and freshly crushed black pepper, to taste

1 cup edamame, shelled and cooked

2 ounces smoked salmon

In a blender, combine the shiso, olive oil, cherries, vinegar, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the edamame. When blended, add mixture to the rest of the edamame and mix. On a large plate, layer the salmon in a circle, and spoon edamame mixture over it, garnishing it with the extra cherries. Adjust the salt.

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