With everyone on the go this weekend and throughout the summer, smoked salmon is a healthy, quick meal that can be made ahead of time. The leftovers (if you have any) can be used on top of a salad or made into a dip.
At your family’s Fourth of July gathering – or any other time you’re dining al fresco – remember this simple rule: Always keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. When it comes to smoked salmon, you want to make sure that it is not left out for more than an hour or two at the most, and make sure you keep it hot or cold the entire time.
Some types of wood that can be used for smoking salmon are hickory, mesquite, apple wood or cherry wood. Apple chips soaked in apple cider or even a hard cider would give the salmon the essence of apple flavor. By keeping the rub simple, you are able to taste the flavor of the fish. At Hy-Vee, we use a rub with brown sugar, Old Bay, salt and pepper.
I prefer my salmon lightly smoked and cooked to medium rare, so that it still has moisture left in it. If you set your smoker at 220 degrees and smoke your salmon for about 45 minutes, the end result will be just that: moist and delicious. You can enjoy your Responsible Choice smoked salmon straight off the smoker. If you plan on eating your smoked salmon later, it will keep for about a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you’re shopping Responsible Choice, a safe bet is either wild or Alaskan salmon. Some farm-raised salmon is not Responsible Choice.
With the addition of a Cherry, Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad, you have a healthy and balanced meal.
One of my family’s favorite ways of enjoying smoked salmon is for breakfast. We toast an everything bagel, spread cream cheese on it, then top with thick slices of red onion, fresh tomatoes and, of course, the smoked salmon.
The following recipe pairs well with a chilled rose or, for those who prefer beer, Sierra Nevada’s Summertime Ale.
Smoked Salmon Log with Sweet and Spicy Pecans
All you need:
- 2 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 pound smoked salmon, flaked
- 2 tbsp minced fresh dill
- 2 tbsp minced red onion
- 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup Sweet and Spicy Pecans, recipe follows
All you do:
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually fold in salmon, dill, onion, horseradish and lemon juice.
- Place some of the mixture on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Form a log about 1 inch thick. Place some pecans on another sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap; roll the log in the pecans until well coated. Twist the ends to seal. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
All you need:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp seasoning salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or more if you prefer
- 2 cups chopped pecans
All you do:
- Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.
- Add sugar, seasoning salt, garlic powder, cayenne and pecans; stir until the spices start to give off an aroma, 1 to 2 minutes.