Smoked salmon is the ultimate party guest. It’s versatile, gets along with lots of other ingredients and always adds a luxurious twist to the proceedings. It’s also easy to work with because you’re limited only by your imagination.
Yield: 20 pieces
12 to 16 slices smoked salmon
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon mustard
2 green onions, thinly sliced
20 round whole grain crackers
On your work surface, lay out a 18- x 12-inch (46 x 30 cm) piece of plastic wrap. In the centre of the plastic, overlap 8 pieces or so of smoked salmon to form a rectangle about 12 x 8 inches (30 x 20 cm).
Toss the remaining smoked salmon, cream cheese, mustard and green onions into your food processor. Purée until smooth enough to spread an even layer of the mixture on the smoked salmon slices, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of 1 long edge uncovered.
Starting at the long edge that’s covered with the cream cheese mixture, roll the smoked salmon into a tight log. Pick up the plastic wrap and use it to encourage the salmon to roll tightly. The uncovered edge at the top will help form a tight seal. Pinch the plastic wrap on both ends and then roll the log until it tightens and forms a cylinder.
Refrigerate or freeze for several hours to help it firm. When the roll is firm enough to cut, slice it into even rounds. Place each round on a cracker, sprinkle your favourite garnish on top and serve.
You may try seasoning or garnishing the smoked salmon purée with any one of your favourite fresh herbs. Dill, basil, parsley and even cilantro all work well. A spoonful of pesto is very flavourful too. If you have any of the filling left over, it can easily served as a tasty dip.
When a local fisherman shows up at my door with a fresh halibut, this is the gold standard recipe I reach for. It’s my favourite way to add lots of simple, bright Mediterranean flavour to the firm, meaty whitefish. This dish is spectacular enough for a special occasion but easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner.
This is one of the easiest ways to cook any type of fish. It’s also one of the tastiest, and fastest. Perhaps more than any other technique, this is how I choose to get fish on the table in a hurry. Whitefish is a generic term that refers to many different types of fish, all of them easy to find and cook.
From The Best of Chef at Home © Michael Smith, Whitecap 2009