Its Barefoot Bloggers time again! (If you haven't heard about the Barefoot Bloggers yet you can read more about us here). July's second BB recipe was chosen by Ashley of The Spicy Skillet and is the Smoked Salmon Spread from Barefoot Contessa Family Style (pg 35) or you can also find it here on the Food Network site. One note--when you look at the Food Network site, the program this spread was made on was called "Sunshine Foods" and the description says: "Sunshine food means food that's lighter with great color and flavor." I won't argue the flavor and color but lighter in what way? No offense Ina, you know I love you, but there are both sour cream and cream cheese in this baby--its not that light!
That being said, I have made this recipe a couple of times, once for a family function and once for work with great success and rave reviews so I was happy to make it again...until it all went wrong! "Wrong, you say? Deb, how can you possibly mess up this recipe?" Well I did! Not that it was really bad or uneatable, but it wasn't the glorious, delicious dip I so fondly remembered. I think it may have started with the lower fat cream cheese and sour cream I used, it just seemed a bit thinner than when I had made it with the full fat version. I had a little argument with Ina in my head of course--once again pointing out that none of us really need the extra fat and calories. (I don't think it was very sporting of her to point out the pint of decadent ice cream in my freezer that I am going to Blog about very soon. After all, cutting the calories here gives me more to work with for things like ice cream!)
In any case, I usually use lower fat dairy items with no problem so ultimately I think it was more the salmon's fault. Ina recommends Norwegian Smoked Salmon but I had some nice "Nova-Style Lox" in the freezer that seemed pretty similar and was going to go with that until I remembered the nice chunk of "Hot Smoked Yukon King Salmon" from the same company also sitting in the freezer. Wouldn't that be even better? I opened it and oh the smokey aroma and buttery flavor--PERFECT! Until I gently mixed it into my spread mixture and it basically "melted" into the dip turning it a lovely shade of bright pink. Because it melted into almost nothing it made the texture of the spread a bit strange, it wasn't just creamy and yet it didn't have the nice chunky little bits I was looking for, it was just sort of "mushy" for lack of a better word. I tried throwing in another few ounces of the Nova-Style salmon for some texture and that helped a bit but still it wasn't quite "right".
At this point I had a good amount invested in this dip and was going to eat it and enjoy it no matter what. So I tried it on crackers and it was OK. I thought maybe it would be better with cucumbers so I used a melon baller to scoop out the centers of some small chunks of Japanese cucumbers and that was OK too.
Finally I threw some capers in and used it for a spread on bagels, which I think may have been its true calling as that upgraded it to pretty good. Still it didn't make my "take the leftovers to work cut" because I have my pride and could not handle someone saying--"it's OK but the last one you made was better." I definitely don't blame Ina--her recipe is fab and next time I will stick closer to that recipe and not try to be so adventurous with my salmon choices.
Thanks to Ashley for picking the recipe--it is a good one. I am sure everyones' spreads turned out well. You can check out the other BBs' Smoked Salmon Spreads here. Can you believe there are 94 of us so far!?! Next week we will be posting the bonus recipe for July, Coeur a la Creme. (which by the way, for that recipe mine actually did turn out lovely and delicious!)