Salmon spread recipe wide open to interpretation

Posted Aug. 21, 2008, at 11:55 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:52 p.m.

If the response to last week’s query is any indication, lots of people like the idea of an open-faced blueberry pie. So while I am pecking my way through all those recipes, we might as well get back to a smoked salmon spread I asked about back along.

I had three helpers on that one. Deborah Rollins, Ruth Thurston of Machias and my island neighbor Joanne Pendleton all got in touch with ideas. As far as I can tell, this spread is pretty much of a free-for-all.

Joanne says she just takes whipped cream cheese and beats the smoked salmon into it. That’s it. Can’t get any easier than that.

Ruth and Deb offered up slightly more complex recipes, but even so, anyone can play fast and loose with them.

Ruth’s recipe included mayonnaise, dill weed, Tabasco and chopped olives. Ruth didn’t have any olives on hand when she tried the recipe and didn’t think she’d like them anyway. She did hers in a mixer and says the mixer had a hard job of it. She also wrote to say that she thinks when it is time to serve it, something green on the mounded-up spread would be nice.

Deborah’s recipe recommended lemon and capers with the salmon and cheese mixed with yogurt to adjust the consistency. Her recipe calls for Neufchatel or cream cheese and provides a lot of leeway in the salmon department: 1/4 cup to 1 cup, “depending on how salmony you want it, or how much you bought.” In winter, she eats hers on bagels and in summer on thin rye crackers. She says that it is good on baked potatoes, and she sometimes thins it out with milk, stock or vodka for pasta sauce. So, have a party, make more spread than you need, and have it the next night on pasta.

The directions that follow are a combination of everyone’s suggestions and clearly allow a lot of wiggle room. This is one of those taste-as-you-go things. Mix, taste and adjust. I used fresh dill from the garden and a couple of scallions that I minced very finely and mixed right into the cheese and salmon. I used the capers as a garnish and they were very good with it.

Salmon Spread

Yields about 1 3/4 cups spread

8 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese

An equal quantity of smoked salmon (ends are handy)

1/4 cup or just a dollop of yogurt or mayonnaise

Salt

Pepper

Lemon juice or Tabasco (optional, to taste)

Chopped dill (optional, to taste)

A few chopped olives or capers (optional, to taste)

Throw all the ingredients into food processor or mixer and whirl it until you have the texture you like, either very smooth or a bit lumpy. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mound it on a plate and serve with crackers or crusty bread.

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