Whether it’s for a casual brunch or the BIG GAME, everyone loves a smoked fish spread to slather on sturdy potato chips, crackers, or bagel chips. Another reason this recipe is perfect for parties? It’s even better when made a day or two in advance, to allow the flavors to meld.
Smoked Salmon Spread with Fish Monger
Serves 6 to 8, as an appetizer
One 16-ounce salmon filet, skin on (see note)
Olive oil, for drizzling
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Fish Monger
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
4 ounces sour cream or creme fraiche
1 tablespoon Creole (or any whole grain) mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Hot sauce, as desired for heat
6 snipped chives, for garnish
Potato chips, for serving
Note: For the best results, use a fattier variety of salmon (such as farm-raised) that will be less likely to dry out during the smoking process.
Stack two 9 x 13-inch sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold the edges together to create a border. Spray the top surface of foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Rinse the salmon and pat dry with paper towels, and then place the fish, skin-side down, on the aluminum foil. Drizzle the fish with enough olive oil to lightly coat, sprinkle with Fish Monger, and then use your hands to distribute the oil and seasonings. Set the fish aside to marinate while you prepare the grill.
Prepare a grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. Place a drip pan with an inch of warm water on the side of the grill with no coals, and then clean and oil the grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, add a couple of hardwood chunks (such as oak or hickory) to the perimeter of the fire.
Close the grill and vent the grill for smoking. When the fire begins to produce a steady stream of smoke, transfer the salmon and foil over indirect heat. Close the grill and smoke for 15 minutes (the temperature should be around 300F - 325F. Rotate the salmon 180 degrees, close the grill and smoke for another 15 minutes, or until the salmon has a firm, springy texture and flakes easily with a fork.
Set the salmon aside to cool slightly, and then refrigerate until it’s completely chilled.
To make the spread, use a wooden spoon to combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, scallions, lemon zest and juice. Remove the salmon from its skin and flake into large pieces (checking for bones as you go). Fold the salmon into the creamy mixture, taste for seasonings and add salt , additional lemon juice or hot sauce as desired. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, cover with plastic and refrigerate up to two days in advance. Serve the spread cold, garnished with snipped chives, with potato chips, crackers, or bagel chips.