For the last couple of summers, we’ve been receiving a salmon share from Sitka Salmon and it has been wonderful. Not only do we receive five pounds of salmon each month, we also received an early registration gift of smoked salmon belly, which I was quite excited about and had never tried before.
Not sure how to use it, I threw it in the freezer for awhile until I decided that the smokiness would be great in a spread smeared on dark bread like pumpernickel. Plus, I could make it ahead of time and have it ready for a small weeknight meal alongside a salad or steamed vegetables.
First, I got to work on the bread and chose a recipe for pumpernickel from Artisan Bread in Five by local authors, Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg. Once the dough was prepped, I could devote time to breaking up pieces of the smoked salmon belly by hand.
In a bowl I hand mixed cream cheese, mayonnaise, capers, lemon zest and green onions, using a bit of restraint as to let the salmon belly be the star of the spread. Into the fridge it went while I baked the bread and let it cool until the next day’s dinner. And, an amazing dinner it was.
The spread was so decadent and I’ll use any excuse to eat freshly made bread. If you can’t get your hands on smoked salmon belly, a good substitute would be Star Prairie Smoked Trout which can be found at Grassroots Gourmet in Midtown Global Market or seasonally at Mill City Farmers’ Market.
Smoked Salmon Belly Spread
6 oz. smoked salmon belly, broken into pieces
2-3 oz. cream cheese (as desired), softened to room temperature
1 heaping tbsp. light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. chopped capers
2 tbsp. thinly sliced green onions (plus additional for garnish)
In a medium sized bowl, break smoked salmon belly into pieces and mix with cream cheese and mayonnaise. Once combined, fold in lemon zest, capers and green onions. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Serve with slices of pumpernickel bread, rye bread, or sliced veggies.