You'll love this easy smoked salmon spread! Made with a few simple ingredients you can get at your grocery store and it's ready in minutes! This makes a beautiful addition to your holiday charcuterie board or for any special occasion!
The secret behind the success of this easy recipe is a combination of fresh and cured, smoked salmon. Serve it as a dip or spread, it also makes a nice party sandwich when served on a mini-croissant!
Probably one of the best known salmon spread recipes is Famous Dave's, served at his chain of barbecue restaurants in the Midwest. Dave's secret blend is cream cheese based.
But this easy smoked salmon recipe is a bit lighter using sour cream (or creme fraiche), whole-grain mustard, fresh lemon juice, dill weed, and a smidgen of green or red onions.
Why this recipe works
This is one of my favorite holiday hors d'oeuvre recipes because it can be made in advance and everyone loves it~even those who "don't like fish":) The texture is similar to a "rillette", or pate- which are generally consists of ground pork.
Simple ingredients - a fresh fillet, a hot-smoked, cured salmon fillet and a few household staples like whole-grain mustard, sour cream, fresh lemon juice, chives (or red onion), a smidgen of dill weed (optional) and a little salt and black pepper
Mild flavor - This recipe does not use artificial smoke flavor (we're talking about the smoky flavor of Liquid Smoke, here), but relies on the natural-smoked flavor of fish that has been cured during the smoking process.
Healthy dip - this delicious spread has those healthy Omega - 3 fatty acids we need so you can feel good about serving this to your friends and family!
The combination of using a fresh poached salmon fillet with a hot smoked salmon fillet produces a dip or spread that is just right - not too strong, lemony or smoky, but just right!
Here's what you'll need
You'll need an 8-ounce fresh salmon filet (about ½ a pound) and about 4-6 ounces of packaged smoked salmon. It doesn't matter if it's wild-caught or farmed. Note: there are "hot-smoked" and "cold-smoked" salmon fillets at your grocer. This recipe uses hot-smoked which is smokier than cold-smoked. You can use either in this recipe.
You'll need a few tablespoons of sour cream, fresh lemon juice, a few tablespoons of whole-grain mustard, chives and or red onion, dill weed (optional), salt and pepper
How to make it
This easy dip comes together in a short amount of time! Ten minutes and you're ready to move on to making your next dish!
Poach the fresh salmon - First, leave the skin on the fresh fillet; pat dry the fresh fish with a paper towel. Lightly season with salt, pepper and dill weed. In a large skillet, add 1 cup of water and bring to boil. Once water is boiling, add seasoned fillet skin side down, and cook uncovered for 1 minute; turn the heat down to medium low, cover and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes; When the internal temperature reaches 125°F, remove it from the skillet and transfer to a plate to cool.
Process the smoked salmon - Meanwhile, remove the smoked fish from the package and pat dry if necessary with a paper towel. Chop it into fine, small pieces
Add it to the food processor; then add sour cream, lemon juice, stone ground mustard, a pinch of ground black pepper and chives (or red onions); pulse 4-5 times until the mixture begins to form a paste ( Be sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor)
In a large mixing bowl, add the salmon mixture from the food processor; Then, run a sharp knife along the bottom of the fresh fillet to remove the skin. Use two forks to flake the meat, then add it to the mixing bowl. Use a fork to combine well; taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings accordingly.
Place the spread in a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic presses down directly onto the dip; refrigerate for at least one hour. When ready to serve, stir the spread and taste for salt and pepper; adjust seasonings, garnish with fresh dill, lemon slices or chopped chives and serve with toasted bread or crostini.
For best results, serve this easy smoked salmon spread at room temperature or, if you want to serve it warm, put it in the microwave for a few minutes on low and heat until it's warm throughout.
For the fresh fillet, wild Atlantic is the most widely available in the United States.
Depending upon where you live, you can sometimes find mild Coho (which is milder than Atlantic) or you may have Sockeye (which is stronger than Atlantic ) at your grocery store. Any of these types will work in this recipe.
"Hot smoked" is stronger than "cold smoked". It's really up to you and your personal preference. This recipe uses hot-smoked.
There are many different types available; some are smoked and cured with peppercorns, while others are smoked and cured with no additional seasonings.
- If your fresh salmon has any visible, tiny white pin bones, remove them with a sharp knife or fork
- Leave the skin on the fresh fillet when you poach it; remove the skin after the fish has cooled a bit
- Taste for salt after you've combined the salmon dip and after it's rested in the refrigerator (Why? some smoked salmon is more salty than others; you won't know the full flavor profile until the dip has rested a while)
- Let the spread sit at room temperature before you serve it; it will become creamier as it warms at room temperature
If you're missing a few ingredients, you can easily substitute with these:
- Use finely minced red, yellow onion or white onion if you don't have chives (just a little teaspoon or so)
- No whole-grain mustard? Use a little Dijon mustard or, if you don't have Dijon, use a splash of Worcestershire sauce and/or a dash of white vinegar
- No sour cream? Use plain yogurt, creme fraiche, cream cheese or mayonnaise
- No lemon juice? Use a little white vinegar or lime juice
- Don't have dill weed? No problem! Substitute with a little fresh parsley
- Want it a little spicy? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a splash of Louisiana Hot Sauce
Make ahead and storage
This easy smoked salmon spread can be made up to 3 days in advance. Just store it in an airtight container until ready to serve.
When you're ready to serve it, stir it up well, taste for salt, garnish and place in pretty serving bowl with a small knife spreader.
You can freeze this in a freezer container for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, allow to thaw in refrigerator until softened. Stir well, taste for salt, plate, garnish and enjoy!
Serve this easy smoked salmon spread with toasted bread, crostini, crackers or crisp veggies like bell peppers or as a dip
This is an excellent brunch dish - serve it warm and spread some over a warm piece of toast along with your Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary
It also makes a nice party sandwich, spread some on a sweet Brioche bun or mini-croissant, with a piece of fresh cut iceberg lettuce
There's nothing complicated about making a really good smoked salmon spread, just use fresh, quality salmon!
Smoked Salmon Spread
- Food Processor
- ½ pound fresh salmon fillet (8 ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, dried dill weed
- 1 cup water
- 4 ounces hot-smoked salmon (see recipe notes)
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (see recipe notes)
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely minced green onion or red onion
- salt & pepper to taste
- Pat dry the fresh salmon fillet; remove any pin bones; leave skin on½ pound fresh salmon fillet
- Lightly season fillet with salt, black pepper and dried dill weed¼ teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, dried dill weed
- Bring the water to a boil in a large skillet1 cup water
- Place seasoned salmon fillet in skillet skin side down; allow to cook at the boiling temperature for 1 minute uncovered; after a minute, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook an additional 8-10 minutes
- Use a spatula and transfer fillet to plate; allow to rest for 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, chop the hot smoked salmon into small pieces (about ¼"inch); place in food processor; add softened butter and pulse 2-3 times until the mixture is combined4 ounces hot-smoked salmon, 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- Add whole-grain mustard, sour cream, lemon juice and chopped onions; pulse until the mixture forms a paste; transfer to a large mixing bowl3 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard, 1 tablespoon finely minced green onion or red onion
- Remove the skin from the fresh cooked salmon with a sharp knife; Use two forks and shred the fish into small pieces; add this to the bowl of the pureed smoked salmon and stir by hand until well combied
- Place plastic wrap directly onto spread and refrigerate for at least one hour
- When ready to serve, remove salmon spread from refrigerator, stir, taste for salt and pepper; adjust seasonings accordingly and serve at room temperaturesalt & pepper to taste
- There are two kinds: cold-smoked salmon and hot-smoked salmon.
- You can use hot-smoked or cold-smoked salmon. Hot-smoked is "smokier"