I grew up in Kansas, the “wheat basket of America,” and have always been frustrated by how grocery store bread in Kansas is just as expensive and potentially stale as it is everywhere else. Farmers don’t ship their wheat to the grocery stores, of course. It changes hands many times over during the process of being refined into flour and then bread before being packaged and sold to grocers. The same unfortunate reality has bothered me now that I live in Alaska – salmon is expensive!!!
Nonetheless, you really can’t beat Kansas wheat or wild caught Alaskan salmon! There’s a reason people all over the world travel here to try commercial fishing, or read labels in their local stores to make sure they are purchasing the real deal!
I’ve been blessed to receive gifted salmon from friends over the years, but until this Summer, I mostly had to purchase mine from Costco just like you do. I found that my family got the biggest “bang for our buck” out of purchasing smoked salmon and stretching it out with other yummy ingredients to make a dip or spread. It’s always a hit with both our children and any guests we serve it to.
Now that I have a fishing pole,
and a smoker,
I’ve been in salmon Heaven
and still haven’t grown tired of making
salmon spread and crackers
on an almost weekly basis.
I’m so thankful to have a freezer full of smoked salmon
waiting to nourish us through Winter!
And I’d love to share it with you!
This spread can work with any smoked fish – we like ours particularly dry (so hot smoked for a good long while - not like cold-smoked lox). And yes, you can use fish that is usually not regarded as “top quality” for salmon spread! We think smoked Chum (dog salmon) is just as delicious as smoked Pink or Silver. If you do fish, consider this a way to waste less time and effort, and keep those Chum!
This recipe is lovely served with crackers or vegetables, on bagels, or on a spoon at midnight when you can’t get to sleep because you are craving something delicious. You can also play with the ingredients to your preference, of course. We sometimes add lacto-fermented pickle juice or hot sauce to the mix!
Anjanette’s Smoked Salmon Spread
Filet of smoked salmon (up to 20oz)
24ozs cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp mayo or plain yogurt
1 Tbsp spices blend - garlic, dill, parsley, basil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
You’ll want to set your cream cheese out to soften several hours before you make this dip – warming it with heat just isn’t ideal, and if it’s too cold it will be difficult to mix. You should also check your smoked salmon for pin bones. These bones are very thin and flexible, and people often leave them in the fillets while smoking them because they come out easier after the fish is cooked. You are less likely to encounter this with store bought smoked salmon.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for smoked salmon to make a creamy spread. Then remove skin and bones from the salmon, if they remain, and crumble the smoked salmon into the spread. Fold the salmon in until it’s evenly distributed, and you’re done!
Make sure to keep it refrigerated. I’d suggest transferring a portion into a nice dish to serve to guests - this recipe is definitely family-sized! Enjoy!
Anjanette Barr is wife to a librarian, homeschooling mom to four, and ENFP enthusiastic pursuer of all hobbies (until she finds a new one). She's also the author of: "Dinner at Home; Advice and Encouragement for the Untrained Home Cook."
She currently lives on a micro-homestead in Juneau Alaska where she babies her ducks, chickens, wild roses, garden, Siamese cat, and worm farm in addition to her family. You can find out more about her and her published books at: http://www.anjanettebarr.com