Let’s say you’ve been invited to a party and you’re supposed to bring an appetizer, and you want to do something cooler and moderately classier than a veggie platter or guacamole and chips. For just such an occasion (three relatively recent occasions, actually), I found/created a smoked salmon dip, and it has been a big hit each time.
Salmon is one of my very favorite meats to smoke, and I’ve had a few decent ones over the years, so I decided to find a good recipe online. Unfortunately, none of them did exactly what I wanted them to do, so I found three different ones and sort of cobbled them together. The one I stole the most from was from www.greatpartyrecipes.com, but I also borrowed from a cooks.com recipe and a Barefoot Contessa recipe. But really, it’s mine now, and you should make it instead of theirs.
The other recipes do point out that you can start with canned salmon and add smoke seasoning, or you could buy the salmon already smoked, but my water smoker does the job quite nicely for me, thank you very much. Personally, I like to smoke the salmon myself, and have blogged about it here, but if you don’t have a smoker, just buy the pre-smoked piece of salmon. But for the love of God, don’t do the canned salmon and bottled smoke if it can be avoided–and if you do, don’t hold me responsible for the results.
This recipe makes about three cups worth of dip, but I have always doubled this recipe for a larger crowd. You can make it a day or two in advance, if necessary. Serve with a variety of decent crackers and absorb the compliments of those you have graced with this dish. Just make sure you don’t forget to scoop up your fair share of the dip while you’re listening!
PS. Does anyone know where to find a wicked awesome fish mold for something like this? I’ve been using just a round mixing bowl, and haven’t found a decent fishy shape to use either online or in stores!
PPS: Still haven’t found a decent fish mold, but even a non-artistic guy like me was able to free-form create a fishy shaped blob of smoked salmon dip, and it received raves:
- 2 Cups Smoked Salmon, flaked or chopped (I always try to smoke it the day before I mix it, to enhance the flavor)
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 Tbsp Grated Onion (white or yellow)
- 1 Tsp Horseradish
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 3 drops Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Dill, chopped
- ¼ tsp Ground Pepper
- ⅓ cup Chopped Pecans
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
- In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, lemon juice, onion, horseradish, salt, hot sauce, dill, and pepper.
- Add salmon. Mix thoroughly. How long and how hard you mix it will determine whether it is consistently creamy or slightly chunky. I aim for something in the middle, well mixed, but still with a bit of actual salmon texture
- Line a bowl or a wicked awesome fish mold with either plastic wrap or a light coating of non-stick spray and transfer the salmon dip into it
- Cover and refrigerate between one hour and overnight (overnight is best for full melding of flavors)
- Dump (carefully, of course…) the dip onto a serving plate or platter, maintaining the bowl or mold shape as well as possible
- Mix the nuts and parsley together, and coat the dip with the mixture evenly
- If you have a wicked awesome fish mold, use a sliced olive as an eye, for that special fishy effect…