All the flavors of a perfect bagel sandwich, only finger-friendly and fancy.
I’m not a huge New Year’s Eve person. I count it among the most overrated of holidays, especially because I refuse to pay cover at a bar, on principle, just because it happens to be the last day of the year. I’m lame that way.
But I CAN get behind snacks, always, any day. And New Years Eve is a good time to make snacks. If you’re hosting a group of people, they need something to eat with that champagne, right? Here’s something easy and oh-so-classy to add to your shindig: smoked salmon and caper spread. It’s finger-friendly, it’s drink-friendly, and it’s make-ahead friendly. Quite simply, it’s friendly! And your friends will love it back.
New Year’s Eve? Overrated. Snacks and friends? RATED. (I don’t underrate them. They are both actually really good things. And it’s probably impossible to overrate both. So….new adjective. You’re welcome.)
This spread consists of everything that’s delicious from a really good New York bagel sandwich. And as someone who used to live in New York, these flavors are soul mates. (In a polygamous relationship, I suppose.)
You combine cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, lemon, a tiny bit of hot sauce, and a little parsley, in one rather attractive spread. Then you serve it with all the accoutrements, which I’m saying in my head with a French accent, because, fancy. (Okay, I’m combining New York and France here, and that’s weird, but I’m okay with it.) By that I mean throw it on a tray with some little slices of bread or crackers, along with tomato, red onion, extra salmon, capers–basically whatever you would want to put on an everything bagel. I used pumpernickel bread slices, which have a nice strong flavor to balance the salty flavor, plus a nice strong color to balance the pale pink. Presentation, folks!
Along those lines, I’ll add that it’s important to follow the directions for, first, combining most of the ingredients in a food processor, but then folding in the remaining chopped ingredients without smashing them all together. If you just process everything at the start, it makes a rather uninteresting-looking spread. It’s a pretty color, sure, and it tastes great, but it also looks like, well, semi-liquid bubblegum, or something, which isn’t what you want to eat on a slice of bread. But fold in those last pieces of salmon and parsley gently, and you get a lovely texture and extra colors to brighten it up. Did I mention we’re fancy here?
Eat it up with a glass of champagne, and an overrated holiday just becomes…a good day. And I’m all right with that.
Recipe adapted from Wine Bites, by Barbara Scott-Goodman.
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup chopped parsley, divided
- 2 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped, divided
- 4 oz smoked salmon, chopped, divided
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, hot sauce, pepper, and about two-thirds of your parsley, capers, and smoked salmon. Reserve the remaining third of those last three ingredients. Process until combined.
- Remove the spread from the food processor and spoon into a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining third of the chopped parsley, capers, and salmon. Gently fold to combine. Taste and add more pepper if you like.
- Chill until serving. Serve with small slices of toasted pumpernickel bread or crackers, sliced tomato and red onions, extra salmon and capers, and slices of lemon.