Smoked Salmon Spread
Chef’s Notes: I can always count on my friend Elizabeth to bring this starter to a potluck; it’s a simple dish she learned while working with fishermen in Alaska’s wild salmon country. Smoking salmon is a method of preserving it, making it ideal for camping and fishing trips and an extraordinary replacement to the more traditional lox whipped with cream cheese.
For extra zing, I add lemon zest and a medley of fresh herbs. My favorite combination is 1 tablespoon tarragon and 1 tablespoon chives (technically an allium but used like an herb). If you’re harvesting your own chives or buying them from the farmers’ market, track down a few purple chive blossoms for garnish. My favorite smoked salmon is Alaska Gold brand, which you can buy online from the fisher(wo)men and keep on hand in the freezer.
By preparing this at home, you arrive with it ready-made for quick satisfaction, like smearing on bagels or charred bread. If you’re bypassing the capers, try topping your spread with quick pickles; a bright, tangy burst helps cut through this rich dip. For a lighter snack, serve it as a dip with raw vegetables.
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: None
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- One 8-ounce block cream cheese (see Note)
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 4 ounces smoked salmon (preferably wild caught)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (such as tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil, chives, or a combination)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed if packed in salt (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, use a fork to beat together the cream cheese and yogurt until smooth and spreadable.
Break up the smoked salmon with the fork or your fingers and add it to the cream cheese mixture, stirring together until incorporated. Stir in the herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and capers (if using) and season with pepper.
Store in an airtight container, chilled, for up to 5 days.
Note: It helps to bring the cream cheese to room temperature, but if you’re making this in a pinch, you can still whip cold, cubed cream cheese with a little extra elbow grease.
Reprinted with permission from “Feast by Firelight,” text and illustrations copyright 2018 by Emma Frisch. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.