“Deep Flavors” is a perfect idea for that last-minute gift: sensational and detailed recipes, such as the familiar but reimagined favorite, Deconstructed Turkey, designed to produce a perfectly cooked bird with bountiful sauce and stuffing every time, or the different, but delicious, Texas State Fair Blue Ribbon Winning Mushroom Spinach Lasagna, to unique and delectable desserts like Lemon Coconut Custard Cherry Pie, or a German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake, to advice on how to enhance ingredients (from asparagus and mushrooms to nuts), plus the many other eclectic recipes and ideas, all combine to make award-winning “Deep Flavors” a valued gift for your loved ones or friends who love to cook. See also the review of “Deep Flavors” in the New York Times: www.nytimes.com/2020/09/07/dining/deep-flavors-book-kenneth-horwitz.
This scrumptious appetizer recipe came from one of my wife’s cousins in Tidewater, Virginia, and is a perfect “movie night” dish. We do not know the origin of this mixture, but we do know that it is easy to make and one of the most delicious and sought-after appetizers that we serve. It is also an example of how a dish can evolve over a period of time to become even better.
1 pound (about 2 cups) of salmon (freshly poached or grilled and chilled is best, but canned also works deliciously)
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese (Philadelphia brand, full fat, room temperature)
1 lemon, grated and juiced (1 tablespoon of juice needed, about ½ a lemon)
⅓ medium sweet onion (Texas 1015, Vidalia, etc.)
1 teaspoon or more prepared Jewish-style (not cream) horseradish in vinegar (preferably beet colored and refrigerated, since it is not shelf stable)
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (The smoke particles precipitate, so shake the bottle well. Add judiciously, as the flavor is intense.)
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ cup or so pecans, chopped and toasted
Originally, and still to this day, this spread used canned salmon and involved removing the bones and skin. However, lightly grilled (to medium rare) or poached fresh salmon is even better.
In a food processor, combine the salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, roughly chopped onion, horseradish, and liquid smoke. Blend thoroughly until smooth. Taste. Adjust horseradish, lemon juice and zest, liquid smoke, and onion to taste. Then add salt to taste, if needed. Stir in the chopped pecans. Chill for several hours so that the salmon spread becomes firm.
Serve with toast points, crackers, etc. An excellent base on which to serve the salmon spread is Pumpernickel Bread (Chapter 4 of “Deep Flavors”). Alternatively, slice a french bread baguette into ½-inch-thick slices, place on a baking tin, and brush with olive oil lightly simmered with garlic (so that the garlic infuses the oil). Bake the croutons in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes until crispy. A bagel, fresh or toasted, also works.
Originally, the salmon spread was intended to be formed into a ball and coated with the pecans rather than the pecans mixed in. It is much easier to serve the spread in a bowl, and I personally like the pecans mixed in. My wife, Bobbie, does not like the pecans at all and so does not use them in the portion that she eats. It is all about your own taste preferences.
About the author: Kenneth M. Horwitz, JD, LLM (Tax), CPA, practices as a lawyer in a general tax, estate planning, and transaction practice. Mr. Horwitz developed a creative and focused approach in finding and fixing problems, a skill that translates well to his passion for developing recipes based on traditional family favorites tailored to personal taste and dietary needs. His desire to preserve and communicate that work led to “DEEP FLAVORS.”