This smoked salmon and cream cheese pâté will satisfy even the most picky palate. It’s so customizable too.
We use cold smoked salmon, never hot smoked salmon. Cold smoked salmon is raw while hot smoked salmon is fully cooked. But what makes cold smoked salmon the better choice? Flavor and texture.
How fine or how rough you should mince the salmon depends on what texture you’re aiming for. For an ultra smooth mixture, puree the salmon in the food processor. If you want bits of salmon to remain visible, hand chop so have better control over how small or large the pieces of fish should be.
We hand chop the smoked salmon because we prefer to see bits of fish peeping through the cheese. From the chopping board, the chopped fish is scooped into a bowl, and the cream cheese, dill and scallions are added. Lemon pepper seasoning is sprinkled on top and everything is mixed until the cheese turns into a paste.
At this point, the mixture is stiff and hardly spreadable. And despite the lovely smokiness of the fish and the creaminess of the cheese, the flavors are rather one dimensional because there’s just saltiness and not much else. So, we proceed to the next step.
We add Japanese mayo and calamansi juice. The mayo lightens the mixture to make it spreadable. The calamansi juice provides contrast to the saltiness of the fish and cheese to create a more nuanced blend of flavors.
Once everything is perfectly blended, taste again and adjust the seasonings, if needed. You see, when seasoning the smoked salmon and cream cheese pâté, remember that not all cream cheeses are created equal. Some are more tangy and salty than others. So, season accordingly. If you need more or less than the amounts specified in the recipe below, go with what your taste buds tell you.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese pâté
- 250 grams smoked salmon (use cold smoked salmon, not hot smoked) thawed
- 250 grams cream cheese (at room temperature) cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
- ¾ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- ¼ cup Japanese mayo
- 1 tablespoon calamansi juice or lime or lemom juice
- Hand chop the smoked salmon or puree in a food processor, depending on how smooth or chunky you want your pâté.
- Place the smoked salmon in a large bowl, and add the cream cheese, dill, scallions and lemon and pepper seasoning.
- Mix everything together making sure that no chunks of cream cheese remain.
- Stir in the Japanese mayo and calamansi juice until fully blended.
- Taste. Add more lemon and pepper seasoning or calamansi juice, or both.
- Transfer to a tightly covered container and keep in the fridge until needed.