I was thinking of doing a fresh, vegetable dip for today’s post, but then it snowed a few inches last night and the fleeting summer feeling escaped me, so I thought we’d snuggle back into some comfort food while it’s still chilly. Also! I’m doing dips because it’s March Madness! One of the best times of the year! Where you, too, can watch all the college basketball your heart desires (while snacking) and root for the Kansas Jayhawks to win it all (against all odds!). And if they lose, then you can drown your sorrows in comforting, creamy salmon dip. How’s that for problem solving?
First off, here’s what you’ll need. You should note that I tried to make it this week with “lox” style smoked salmon, and I would not suggest that. It still tasted good, but I prefer buying actual smoked salmon — you know, the kind you can flake into small pieces and it blends better into the dip. My grocer was all out of that kind, and since I had walked to the store, I didn’t have the time (or energy) to walk another mile and back to see if the next store did have the proper kind. Like I said, this works in a pinch, but the flaky, smoked salmon fillets work better.
Oh! And I also should mention that you may use canned salmon. That’s actually what this recipe (handed down from my wonderful mother) calls for. I did that once and the contents of that can are still haunting me (what is all that hard stuff? why is it black? THIS IS NOT WHAT FISH SHOULD LOOK LIKE!), so I prefer to use the “real” kind instead of canned. But it’s up to you. Oh! And one more note! My mom throws in 1/4 tsp liquid smoke. I’m sure it makes it taste even more divine, but I cannot figure out what is exactly in liquid smoke except for chemicals, so I leave it out. I’m paranoid like that.
OK! Let’s get to it!
• Either 1 lb smoked salmon (canned or from your butcher shop) OR 8 oz of the lox-style salmon
• 8 oz of soft cream cheese (the block kind works perfect)
• Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
• One very small shallot grated (and have kleenex nearby — grating onions produces major waterworks). You can also use 2 tbsp grated regular onion.
• 1 tsp horseradish sauce
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
• 3 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
• dash of Worcester sauce
Start by mushing up the cream cheese to make sure it’s soft and pliable, then add in the salmon. Again! This is super easy when it’s from a fillet. A bit challenging when it’s the lox-style.
Next, mix in your lemon juice, horseradish sauce, Worcester sauce, salt and grated onion. Now, once it’s all mixed, I think letting it sit a few hours in the fridge does wonders for the flavor, but it’s not mandatory. Also, if my mom were making this for you, those fingernails would be freshly manicured. Um, sorry.
Lastly, I mix it up in small serving bowls and mix in the pecans and parsley. Now! If you are feeling retro and kitschy, my mom makes this into a ball served with a delicate little knife. She rolls the ball in the pecans and parsley, which is lovely. After Magda jumped on the table and ate my cheese ball last fall, I prefer bowls that cannot be gulped down in several gross swallows (resulting in trips to the emergency vet). But that might just be me.
Also! This goes great with any kind of cracker. I, personally, love the Nut Thins by Diamond that are made of pecans. But those yummy butter crackers work well, too!
And this is about 217 calories if split between 8 people (and that doesn’t count the crackers). The good news is that it’s so rich, you can skip dinner! Oh, and I should also mention that it’s great on warm bagels in the morning as well.
For your internet share, I’m sending you to another recipe that would be a huge hit if you were to bring it to my house to watch basketball. In case you haven’t picked up on it, baking scares the crap out of me. So YOU should make ME these brown butter donut holes. Eh? Eh?