The Recipe: Looking for a healthy appetizer for New Year’s? Think smoked salmon spread on crackers, low-carb and just 1 Weight Watchers point for two tablespoons. It’s good for you but tastes rich and indulgent.
The Conversation: The many ways (and places) to discover smoked salmon.
PS For all looking for traditional recipes for New Years, the ones that bring "good fortune" for 2015, check out New Year's recipes! This is my last recipe for 2014, on New Year's Eve, look for one of my favorite things to think about, a look back at the favorite recipes of the year!
Twas was a salmon-lover’s heaven, I tell you. While visiting cities along the Baltic Sea back in June, we ate smoked salmon two or three times a day, never once tiring of the stuff.
At breakfast, Scandinavian hotels put out incredible breakfast buffets. The major appeal? Platters of smoked salmon, more specifically, the Nordic "gravlax", wet, salt-cured salmon quite similar to the "lox" of lox and bagel fame. Me, I ate the buttery orange-fleshed slices of gravlax Finn-style: draped open-face across slices of sturdy bread with good cheese, tomato or cucumber, savoring every nibble.
For lunch one day, we bought “hot-smoked” salmon off a fishing boat moored in the harbor near the Helsinki market. We ate it on the spot, sitting in the sun near the water, picking the filet apart with our fingers, tossing scraps to insistent seagulls. Ooops, only later did we see the signs, “Do not feed the birds.”
Smoke houses are found along the Great Lakes too. In August, we picked up smoked whitefish, trout, herring and salmon on our way out of Bayfield, Wisconsin, hauling several pounds south in a cooler.
Heaven? Find it at home, too.
We're perfecting our own recipe for gravlax and once it's nailed, will share it here. But for this recipe, you'll want to use "hot smoked" salmon that has been cooked with heat. It has a drier texture and the rich smoked flavor that "just works" with minimal embellishment. Look for small pieces wrapped in heavy plastic at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and well-stocked supermarkets. Feeling a little puzzled over all this salmon terminology? Me too! There's a great explanation of the differences here, Smoked Salmon, Lox, Gravlax: Is There A Difference? .
SMOKED SALMON SPREAD
Time to table: 15 minutes but best if refrigerated for an hour or two before serving
Makes 1 cup, easily multiplied
- 6 ounces (115g) smoked salmon, preferably hot-smoked
- 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
- 4 teaspoons (17g) mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh chive
- 1 – 2 teaspoons horseradish
- Hot sauce
- Zest of a lemon
- Salt & pepper
SALMON Remove the salmon skin and pull the flesh off the bone. Carefully break the flesh into small pieces, removing all the bones. You’ll want about four ounces useable salmon. With a small food processor, process until fine.
SAUCE Mix salmon with sour cream, mayonnaise and fresh chive. Stir in horseradish, hot sauce, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to taste.
REFRIGERATE Cover and refrigerate for one or two hours for the flavors to meld.
SERVE with crackers (Caraway Triscuits work especially well) or baguette slices.
MORE SERVING IDEAS Spread Smoked-Salmon Spread atop a cracker or bread slice, top with a thin slice of cucumber, a small chunk of smoked salmon and chopped chive. I also love Smoked Salmon Spread on a diagonal-cut piece of cucumber, extra healthy!
A Most Romantic Lunch
Back in June, this was our favorite lunch in Helsinki, Finland. It was a sunny, breezy day and we found salmon chowder in a small stand in the harbor-side open-air market called the "kauppatori" and and bought smoked salmon straight off a fishing boat. We sat right on the water, and yes, we had to fight off most-insistent seagulls!
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