In some areas of my cooking, there's a ton of variety. New desserts for nearly every dinner party. A variety of entrees served to repeat visitors. I've even been spicing up my breakfasts, pushing myself to move beyond bagels and peanut butter.
And then, there's the appetizers.
It's not that I wouldn't like to make more creative appetizers for the typical dinner. It just happens that by the time I've created my ideal dinner (centered around a dessert, of course), there's no time left to create a unique set of appetizers to start the meal.
I've got one appetizer that almost always surfaces at dinner parties: smoked salmon dip. It's fabulously creamy and can easily be made a few hours in advance and tucked away in the fridge.
The only problem? The dairy. As part of my New Year's resolution to cut dairy out of my savory cooking, I haven't been able to make my traditional version of smoked salmon dip, loaded with cream cheese and a touch of milk.
I created this dairy-free smoked salmon dip as an alternative, substituting a bit of mayonnaise for all the cream cheese I had previously used. I added a touch of lemon juice for acidity and chopped green onions for some crunch.
The end result was a delicious dip with quite prominent smoked salmon flavors. I didn't miss the dairy at all. My friends accustomed to the original version didn't either.
Smoked Salmon Dip, Updated
recipe adapted from this smoked salmon dip
about 4 ounces hot smoked salmon, about 2/3 of a cup, torn apart
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (use your favorite kind; I used one with an olive oil base)
4 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, combine smoked salmon, mayonnaise, green onions and lemon juice. Stir until the ingredients are well combined.
Taste, and add salt and pepper to fit your preferences.
Refrigerate the dip until you're ready to serve it. Serve on crackers, bread, cucumbers, or your favorite serving vessel.