If you need a festive recipe to ring in the season, look no further than this easy yet elegant appetizer. Rich, creamy smoked salmon dip is an easy — but very sophisticated! — way to add some indulgence to your upcoming holiday soiree.
Holiday entertaining means pulling out all of the stops and serving up recipes that are truly worthy of the joyous occasion. Thankfully, dazzling your friends doesn't mean you have you break the bank, or your back. This lavish smoked salmon dip practically shouts "'Tis the season!"
There's a lot of room for adaptation here, but for the most part this dip is as simple as it gets. Plenty of recipes out there use overpowering ingredients, such as capers or horseradish, to mask the nuanced flavor of the fish, but to me those are just besides the point. The smoked salmon should be the star of show.
There's a double-dose of salmon in this dip. Some of it gets pureed with cream cheese (for body) and crème fraiche (for tang), to make a creamy, light-as-air, salmon-infused spread. Then the remaining fish is folded in along with sautéed shallots, a scattering of dill, and a squeeze of lemon, which all together provide more than enough contrast to round out the silky dip.
When shopping for the smoked salmon, go for the good stuff if you can find it. North Atlantic salmon from Scotland and Ireland is considered the crème de la crème, although there are some pretty stellar stateside smokehouses that are producing a superior product. Buy it in bulk and send your guests home with an extra special treat. (Or hoard it for yourself!)
This is a dip that begs to become a tradition. I'm sure countless versions have been shared in the past and many more will be shared in the future. May this one, in particular, bring you plenty of memories that will always shine merry and bright.
Smoked Salmon Dip
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
6 ounces smoked salmon, divided
4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese
4 ounces (1/2 cup) crème fraiche (sour cream or Greek yogurt can be substituted)
2 teaspoons finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Bagel chips, crackers, and toasts, to serve
Melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine 2 ounces of the smoked salmon, the cream cheese, and the crème fraiche in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and process until creamy and smooth. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and fold in sautéed shallots, minced dill, lemon zest, and lemon juice; season generously with freshly ground black pepper.
Chop remaining 4 ounces of smoked salmon and fold into dip. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to marry and the mixture to thicken up. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed. Serve with bagel chips, crackers, and toasts.
This dip can be made up to three days in advance. Bring to room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes before serving.