Phil's International Flair

Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

In line with the holidays that are quickly approaching, a selection of hors d'oeuvres can come in very handy. This month, I have chosen to present a few more original recipes. Having a substantial quantity of salmon from my adventures in Alaska earlier this year, I have smoked several pounds of the fish and have used this to produce some tasty snacks that are quite suitable for serving to holiday guests (or hungry kids). These innovative creations are also suitable for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

The first of these recipes -- smoked salmon dip -- sets the basis for two of the other salmon recipes. This dip was inspired by sampling a dip in a fish market in Alaska. Although I didn't care much for the dip that I sampled, I thought the concept was good and set out to better the recipe to suit my own tastes. I think you will find the results very pleasant to the palate.

The salmon dip recipe will work best with smoked salmon that is not too salty. It is better to use smoked salmon that is somewhat moist with a mild smoky flavor. For those industrious enough to smoke their own fish, you will find my favorite recipe for smoked salmon in the Seasoned Cooking archives. Everyone who tries my smoked salmon claims that it is the best they have ever tasted. Several people at work will buy fish for me to smoke in exchange for some of the fish. I always share my portion with other colleagues at work and, rest assured, it does not last long. Frequently, people will migrate over to my cubicle, following the smell that fills the vicinity. Invariably, they are in glee when I offer them a piece of the smoked salmon that I have been sharing. It's a good thing I don't work around any cats!

Smoking your own fish is not difficult if you happen to own a Weber Kettle or some similar BBQ with a cover. As an alternative, most supermarkets will carry smoked salmon that has been vacuum packed. You can experiment with the different types of smoked salmon such as Cajun style, peppered, teriyaki, etc., however, for these recipes I suggest starting with the plain alder or oak smoked salmon.

The recipes presented this month are from my yet to be published cookbook, Phil's Family and Friends Cookbook. Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests.

Now, on to the recipes!

Hors d'oeuvres for the Holidays

Smoked Salmon Dip

This dip is rich and delicious! Serve it for spreading on crackers or with your favorite chips. Again, I recommend using smoked salmon that is in whole chunks rather than the thinly sliced lox variety which tends to be very salty. Or, better yet, smoke your own fresh salmon per my recipe in the archives.
  • 12 oz. soft cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 6 oz. smoked salmon, broken into pieces

Combine the sour cream and salmon in a blender and mix until well blended and creamy. Add the cream cheese a little at a time until it is all well blended and creamy. Chill until served, or use it in the other recipes included in this column.

Serve with crackers, chips, or sliced celery and carrots or other vegetables of your choice. You may wish to double the recipe if you are making the other appetizers included below and serving a large group of people.

Enjoy!

Note: A food processor may work better for mixing the ingredients instead of a blender. However, I used a blender with good results. It just took a little longer than it would with a food processor.
  • Yields: 8 to 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Smoked Salmon Stuffed Mushroom Caps

  • Smoked Salmon Dip from recipe above
  • 16 small to medium mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 4 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
This one is easy once you have made the dip. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and remove the stems from the caps. Simply spoon a bit of the smoked salmon dip into the mushroom caps and garnish with a sprinkling of the finely chopped parsley. Store in a cool place until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 8 minutes

Smoked Salmon Eggs

These aren't really salmon eggs, rather hard boiled eggs stuffed with a smoked salmon mixture. Try them. I think you will like them.
  • 12 hard boiled eggs, shells removed, split in half, yolks removed
  • 6 oz. Smoked Salmon Dip from first recipe
  • 1 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • Paprika
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley or dried parsley flakes

Once the dip is made, this one is also easy to prepare. Simply add the sweet pickle relish to the dip mixture and put it all into the blender until well blended. You may also add a couple of the egg yolks to the mix to stiffen the mixture a bit.

Spoon the mixture into the egg halves, garnish with paprika and parsley. These may also be stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Lobster Stuffed Mushroom Caps

  • 1 - 8 oz. lobster tail split lengthwise and cut into 12 equal sized pieces
  • 12 small to medium sized fresh whole mushrooms, stems removed
  • 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, depending on taste
  • 1/2 cube real butter, room temperature or melted in the microwave with lemon juice
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and remove the stems from the caps. Arrange the caps in a baking dish. Take pieces of the cut lobster tail and place them into the center of each cap. Spread a little of the butter on each piece of lobster and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over each cap. Sprinkle the top of each with a pinch or two of parmesan cheese, depending on taste. Broil in a 375 degree preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese just begins to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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