Thursday, September 12, 2013

Smoked Salmon on Cucumbers – featuring two versions of this upscale appetizer


Smoked salmon on cucumbers is a snazzy appetizer to serve for dinner guests or at a party. It is very easy to prepare and goes together quickly. Plus it can be made a few hours in advance and held in the refrigerator until your guests arrive. Or right before dinner you can put this appetizer together with your friends as we did recently when one of my oldest and dearest friends from childhood was here with his wife.

I’m presenting two versions of smoked salmon on cucumbers today. The first one is smoked salmon tartare. Smoked salmon tartare is a spin on the classic dish steak tartare. Steak tartare is a bistro dish in France consisting of very finely chopped raw sirloin, mixed with capers, chopped onion and seasonings. We like to serve it on a French baguette or toast. Steak tartare is one of my husband Meakin’s specialties. You may remember his recipe from a post awhile back, seen here.

The second is a variation on the salmon tartare, but uses two kinds of salmon. There’s more about the salmon spread one further down in the post. Both versions are very good and well received at parties. The smoked salmon tartare is more upscale and a little fancier, where the second version using two kinds of salmon is more like its bistro country cousin.


Smoked salmon tartare on cucumber rounds
From Everyone Can Cook for Celebrations by Eric Akis – makes 20 rounds

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, best quality
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped, we used sockeye smoked wild salmon
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon small capers, drained
2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
20 slices of an English (also called European) cucumber, cut in ½” thick slices

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Add salmon, onion, capers, and dill and stir to combine. Grind some black pepper over the mixture and taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

Using a small melon baller or spoon, scoop out some of the center portion of each cucumber slice, making sure not to go all the way through the cucumber. Mound 2 teaspoons of the smoked salmon tartare in the center of the cucumber slice (I used the melon baller for this). Garnish with tiny sprigs of fresh dill if desired. Serve right away or store on a covered tray in the refrigerator for several hours in advance of serving.


Smoked salmon spread on cucumbers


When I realized that we make a similar salmon spread that also uses capers and red onion, using left-over salmon combined with a cream cheese/sour cream mixture, I came up with a new version of our old salmon spread by adding smoked salmon from the tartare recipe for a burst of extra flavor.

Left-over cooked salmon stands in for part of the smoked salmon, making it a less expensive appetizer but still retaining the flavors of the fancier version. Our tried and true favorite method of cooking salmon is to broil it, recipe here. We always cook a little extra for occasions such as this. Cream cheese and sour cream hold the mixture together in place of the olive oil and the other ingredients remain the same.



Smoked salmon spread on cucumber rounds
From My Carolina Kitchen

I don’t really follow a formal recipe. I operate by eye-balling the mixture based on how much left-over salmon I have and taste as I go.  Here’s what I do. 

Using a two to one ratio, place chopped left-over cooked salmon and chopped smoked wild sockeye salmon in a large bowl. Toss in a little finely chopped red onion. Again using a two to one ratio, add a combination of whipped cream cheese and sour cream (low fat works fine for both of these) and stir to combine with the salmon and onions. Too much cream cheese makes the mixture stiff; too much sour cream makes it loose. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the salmon; add some small capers, a little chopped fresh dill and several grinds of black pepper. Taste for seasonings and texture and adjust accordingly.

To serve, slice a portion of an English cucumber into ½” thick rounds. Use a small melon baller or spoon & scoop out some of the center portion of each cucumber slice, taking care not to go all the way through the cucumber. Mound 2 teaspoons of the salmon spread in the center of the cucumber slice (I used the melon baller for this). Garnish with tiny sprigs of fresh dill if desired. Serve right away or store on a covered tray in the refrigerator for several hours in advance of serving. Another one of our favorite ways to serve this salmon spread is on traditional table water crackers, such as Carr’s.  As you can see, it is different from the salmon tartare.



I have news -

My new Facebook page for My Carolina Kitchen is now up and running. Thank you Becky McNeer of Not Your Ordinary Recipes for your help. If you haven’t already “liked” my new page, I would be very pleased if you would click over and like My Carolina Kitchen. Click here to like or click the link to Facebook in the right column on the blog.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.

Have a great weekend everyone.


46 comments:

  1. So pretty and surely extremely scrumptious! Great party food.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Sam, I love both versions. They look fabulous!

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  3. Wow, these are gorgeous. I can just see the smiles of delight when these come parading out of the kitchen Sam!

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  4. Sam,
    Here is my version...............however, I love your first version and will be pinning it! Cheers from Paris! xo

    http://www.staceysnacksonline.com/2009/09/smoked-salmon-tartare.html

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  5. I cannot abide cucumbers. Weird, I know.

    How would this taste on slices of red pepper, for example?

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    1. Lisa, this would be great on slices of a toasted French baguette or the white Carr water crackers (link above in post). If you want to use a pepper, I think yellow would be pretty.

      BTW, these European/English/hothouse cucumbers are burp-less and aren't anything like the garden variety we grew up with. You might be surprised how different they are if you haven't tried them.
      Sam

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  6. So fresh and appetizing Sam..colors are great too:)

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  7. Sam, I'm doing this! I have a little party coming up and I LOVE the presentation of this beautiful treat.
    xx's

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  8. These dishes look quite delicious. I love smoked salmon :-) Take care Diane.

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  9. Beautiful little appetizer. Thanks for the idea Sam. Love that sprig of dill.

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  10. I just love this!! refreshing and good for you and so very pretty to boot. Your photography skills help it along too :-)

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  11. Sam, both versions are awesome...I especially like the refreshing cucumber...beautiful appetizers.
    Have a great weekend :D

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  12. Both versions sound excellent Sam and your presentation makes me want to reach right into the screen and grab one. Every year I say I'm going to cold smoke some salmon during the winter, but I usually don't remember until it's too warm again to do it.

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  13. Thank you for posting, can't wait to try these!

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  14. I'll have several of each Sam. I know I would enjoy both combinations.

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  15. They look like very fancy appys Sam! I'm sure everyone enjoyed them:@)

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  16. Looks delicious Sam. Very sophisticated indeed. I think I would prefer the second version.

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  17. How beautiful...and delicious!!

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  18. Substituting a slice of cucumber for a cracker is a wonderful idea, Sam. I wouldn't even miss the cracker. I think I will start with the tartar recipe. This will make a wonderful appetizer this holiday season - so flavorful without being heavy on the calories.

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  19. both versions look divine to me! perfect for afternoon tea! Thanks for contributing to Foodtastic Friday! love your stuff!

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  20. Upscale indeed. Love both the version.

    Just stumbled upon your blog and hooked with the first post. Heading to check few more of your creation.

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  21. I'd be pleased to serve and/or be served either of these delights! And the presentation is especially nice and colorful.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  22. Hi Sam,
    Awesome appetizer's, I love them both and what a beautiful presentation. These will be perfect for all the upcoming entertaining season. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a fun weekend!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

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  23. Just bought some smoked salmon from Costco, and what a delicious way to use it!

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  24. What BEAUTIFUL appetizers!!! I love smoked salmon and it sounds wonderful with the cool cucumbers!!! Great appetizer idea!! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  25. Perfect appetizers that look very special.

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  26. I am pinning this... great appetizer, both light and gluten free. So many food restrictions these days. Thanks for sharing this with us on foodie friday

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  27. Nice finger food. The cucumbers look appealing and tasty!

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  28. Most definitely elegant...Makes a really nice presentation. This rocks.

    Velva

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  29. Wow! What positively elegant appetizers! Beautiful!

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  30. That certainly looks good – the colors go well together too. It would make me hungry but we just finished dinner. I created a fresh fig cake, and I took photos, so I’ll try to show it on my blog, but I know it’s not easy to make food look good on a post – you are a champion at making your food look so appetizing, and I know they are delicious!

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  31. Those are gorgeous, Sam. What color! Love that combination anyway.

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  32. Sam, both versions of your appetizer sound delicious. The tartare has such a lovely color to it...very appetizing. :)

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  33. They look gourmet and so delicious!

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  34. This is SO lovely - I've got a dinner party coming up and I"m looking forward to giving this a night out!!
    Mary x

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  35. Sam, I'm making one or both of these versions for my next party!!! Beautiful and scrumptious!!! Pinned.

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  36. yep- it took me a minute to decide but I would definitely be all for the second version! Something about it makes me want to scream GIVE! GIVE!!!!

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  37. Sam, I love both of these recipes! I can eat salmon, smoked, raw , steamed - you name it! These are perfect for my next neighborhood gathering! Love your photos - beautiful!

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  38. Congratulations Sam!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Have a great day and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Miz Helen

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  39. Love that first shot. The exif data was stripped off of the image, Meakin used a lens other than the 50mm for this one, didn't he? I can't get this close with my 50mm.

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  40. Never had that generous smoked salmon in a fancy restaurant starter before...
    i think i'm gonna be pleased as your guess my friend!

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  41. Oh dear, these little snack look awesome. Wish I can a couple of them. Slurppp...
    Enjoy & have a great week ahead.
    Blessings
    Kristy

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  42. Very stylish presentation! I will copy this at my next get together. Super nice photos I love!

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam