The nightmare is always the same. I am hungry, I go downstairs to the refrigerator, open the door, and there it all is. The fridge is filled with stacks of one overpowering awful, disgraceful dish. Salmon cakes. The only thing you can make with leftover salmon.
I haven’t had a salmon cake in decades, and that’s on purpose. To me, they always were as dry as the Gobi. The flavor was salmon, and salmon, and salmon. One overpowering note. And old salmon at that.
So, if have leftover salmon, what do with it? Well, the opposite of those salmon cakes. You want to avoid that dryness and you need a symphony of flavors: salmon in the lead with overtones to create a full complement for your taste buds.
Suzen and I experimented this weekend on some left over smoked salmon. We created the concoction for a dip, but it has multiple uses. You can stuff tomatoes with it, place a large dab on a bed of lettuce for a salad, or spread it on toast for a great sandwich.
The amounts here can be easily scaled up to produce more. And, you can increase the flavor notes if you wish by including:
- Chopped onion
- Herbs beyond chives
- Diced pickles
- Lime instead of lemon
We did use smoked salmon here, salmon we had just smoked ourselves so it was fresh and moist, not dry and leathery. If you have leftover salmon, but it is baked or barbequed and not smoked, you can introduce that smoky flavor by adding a dash — just a dash— of the adobe sauce from a can of chipotles. Really go easy here. You can add but you cannot subtract!
And, for distinction, there is dill here. And no salt and pepper. The combination is truly different.
Yield: dip for 5-6 folks, salad for two
- 6 ounces cooked salmon
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ sour cream
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- 3 tablespoons diced chives
- 1 tablespoon capers
Using your hands, pull the salmon into small pieces, discarding any skin or tough parts. Place in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice plus the capers. Stir to combine.
Adjust to get the texture you desire by adding more mayo or sour cream. With smoked salmon and the capers, salt and pepper are really not needed here. You are looking for a smooth, subtle flavor with a texture that is easily spreadable.
Source: Suzen and Brian O’Rourke
Coming in the next few days are some recipes for chicken wings. Now, for many of us, the wings are incidental. It’s the dip that matters. And for many of us, the “dip” has to be cheesy. Thing is, blue cheese dips are often, shall we say, harsh. They have a bite that could wake the dead. And if you survive that taste overload, the salt content can drive you to an IV to save your life. What the world needs is a good, a great blue cheese dip that does not shock your taste buds or dehydrate you.
And here it is. From Wings Across America by Armand Vanderstichel, this recipe has some terrific features. First of all, it is subtle, not shocking in taste. It’s so smooth that you’ll find many uses for it beyond chicken wings: chips, veggies, even a salad. It’s a multi-purpose dip that you can create in just moments.
This dip uses sour cream, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. It’s a balanced combination that gives you a smooth base, with a hint of sourness, but is still gentle on your tongue.
Of course, this recipe is totally amenable to your personal tastes. You can add more buttermilk, toss in some onion, some hot sauce, chili powder, … Do yourself a favor though and first make this according to the recipe. You’ll fall in love and perhaps have a partner for life. And, in the end, that’s what we all want, right? [I did not put this last sentence in just to please my wife. Things are going well.]
In Wings Across America, this is called a Roquefort Dip because Armand suggests using Roquefort cheese. I’m a blue man so I substituted Saga Blue and the result was excellent.
Smooth Blue Cheese Dip
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove, mince
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate. Serve with pride.
Source: Wings Across America by Armand Vanderstichel