Growing up in the Northwest I was spoiled with fresh seafood on a regular basis. This was especially true since my dad’s favorite hobby in the world is to get out on the river and catch dinner. With such an abundance of fresh salmon we ate what we could but a lot was freezer packed up to eat at a later date and the rest was smoked. Yes smoked. My dad, in addition to reeling in the kings is the King of making smoked salmon. He has perfected his recipes, there are several styles, and it is now one of those things everyone who has had it looks forward to as a real treat, myself included. It is delicious on it’s own but my mom has also experimented over the years and this is one of my favorite outcomes…you know how people have spirit animals?, well this is one of my spirit foods/flavor combos. The flavors are savory with deepness from the smokiness and texture from the nuts. I love to eat it with pretzels for their added crunch but crackers, bagel chips, baguette and cucumber slices are great too.
Smoked Salmon Spread
Please know this is an easy recipe to play with flavors until you find what’s perfect for you.
1-2 small or medium size pieces of smoked salmon, about a heaping cups worth when flaked
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1-2 large spoonfuls of Greek yogurt or sour cream (to help with a spreadable consistency so it’s not a must if you don’t have any on hand)
3 tablespoons of diced green onions
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (not necessary but adds extra depth)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Pretzels, crackers, bagel chips, baguette and cucumber are all great options for serving
Place the cream cheese on the counter about 30 minutes before you want to use it to allow time for it to soften. Flake the salmon into a bowl carefully removing any bones. Combine salmon, cream cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, green onion, smoked oil and cayenne into the bowl and mix well with a fork until well incorporated and your desired consistency. Once combined form into a ball and set aside.
Next, crush walnuts in a plastic bag using the back of a large bowl or rolling pin. Combine crushed walnuts and minced parsley on a large plate and roll the ball of spread to coat it with dry mixture. Place on platter and serve with preferred goodies.