Have you ever been put on the spot and asked to bring an appetizer or something to a party at the last minute? Cooking anything is probably out of the question, and you don’t have much time to prepare something from scratch after work. You could always buy a pre-made platter from the deli or something, but that isn’t very original. So, what do you do?
When I’m in a pinch I like to make an easy smoked salmon on a cracker appetizer. Yeah, yeah, everybody has spread some cream cheese on a cracker and plopped a piece of smoked salmon on top, but what I’m going to show you takes the mundane and elevate it enough that it will have people at the party talking. Even though we’ll jazz it up a bit, you can still put together a tray of these appetizer bites in about ten minutes.
As you can see, the ingredient list is fairly simple, but one exception may be the creme fraiche. Depending on your supermarket, you may need to check a specialty shop. More than likely, your store stocks it, but it may not be where you’d expect to find it. Check the cheese section or the deli if you can’t seem to find it.
For about 12-15 individual portions:
- 3-4 oz package of smoked salmon
- 2 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 2 oz creme fraiche
- 1 tsp fresh dill
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Toasted sesame crackers
A couple of notes. First, you can use the cracker of your choice, but I really like the toasted sesame crackers by Keebler. The toasted sesame goes nicely with the smokiness of the salmon. Also, while you’re making the spread you might as well double up on it. Even if you aren’t making any extra appetizers themselves, the spread is great on any number of things. Simply as a dip for vegetables, plain crackers, or your morning bagel.
To make the spread , simply add the cream cheese, creme fraiche, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to a small bowl. The pink stuff you see is simply pink peppercorns from my pepper mill. I like to keep a mix of black, green, and pink peppercorns in my mill.
With a spoon just start mixing everything together. If you allowed your cream cheese to come up to room temperature first this will be easy. If it’s still cold you will need to work it a bit more, but it should still only take a minute or two.
Set the spread aside and turn your attention to the salmon. If you picked up your typical 3-4 oz pack of smoked salmon you’ll most likely have two or three large thin slices. you will want to break this down into roughly one inch strips or squares. You want the pieces to be roughly the same size as the cracker they are going on. When you get to the edges you may have some odd shaped pieces, but that’s fine as long as they aren’t so big they fall off the edge of the cracker.
So, how easy was that? It only took a few minutes to get the spread mixed up and another minute or two for cutting up the salmon. All that’s left to do is to start building the crackers by spreading the cheese mixture on a cracker and then placing a piece of salmon on top.
After building up all of the crackers I typically like to take another small piece of fresh dill to garnish the top. This gives a little pop of color and makes them stand out. All that’s left to do is plate them up and begin serving. One tip about making these though. Don’t make them too far in advance. The crackers will begin to go soft after an hour or two, especially if refrigerated. So, if you need to take these to a party, you can prepare everything in advance, just wait until you’re about to head out before putting the spread on the cracker. Enjoy!