As you might imagine, fish and seafood play a prominent role in the diet of a Mainer. The geography of Maine, as well as its rural environment and long history of gaming, make it inevitable that this would be so. In addition to the ocean, an undeniably important part of Maine’s economy and food supply, Maine has many lakes, rivers, and streams – at least 5,785 lakes and ponds alone. A part of what made my childlife so full, in my opinion, was my constant exposure to the outdoors and outdoor sports, including fishing, hiking, hunting, and much more. My new cookbook, Maine Home Cooking, features many fish and seafood recipes (as well as venison – hopefully my husband will get a deer this year so I can share those with you), and when I came across this one for a Smoked Salmon Spread, I was immediately inspired to make it during my weekend in Maine.
My initial thought was of how much my sister loves smoked salmon, and I wanted to make something I knew she would enjoy. My mother also pointed out how much my grandfather loves salmon – for as long as he was able, was an avid fisherman and went on an annual salmon fishing trip to Lapoile, in Newfoundland – and I was, after all, home for his 90th birthday. So it was quickly decided that we would make this spread and take it to share with the family on Saturday evening. We doubled it and it was a hit – the entire bowl was wiped clean.
What you’ll need:
8 oz. cream cheese (or Neufchatel cheese)
8 oz. smoked salmon
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or yogurt)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon juice or Tabasco, to taste (optional)
Chopped dill, to taste (optional)
Chopped olives or capers, to taste (optional)
Throw all ingredients into a food processor or mixer and whirl until you reach your desired consistency (I like mine a bit lumpy). Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve with crackers. This would also be delicious as a spread on bagels, toast, or even pasta – my sister took the leftovers and used them in just this way! I chose to incorporate all of the optional ingredients, because I love those flavors and I felt they would work nicely together. We used roughly the juice of one lemon, just a splash of Tabasco, a tablespoon of chopped dill, and about a 1/4 cup of capers. Delicious!