EASY AND BEST APPETIZER: SMOKED SALMON AND PESTO

by Dec 28, 2020

The very easiest and favorite appetizer!

I love it when an appetizer only has a few ingredients, takes almost no time to get ready for company, and doesn’t involve cooking. Allen and I used to enjoy this for dinner on hot summer nights when we didn’t want to add heat to house.  Actually, we enjoyed it any time of the year when we were too tired or busy to spend much time getting dinner on the table. In addition, it is festive and elegant looking. It is perfect for New Year’s Eve, with or without a crowd.

Due to the fact that it is simple, quick and easy to get ready on the spur of the moment, it is one of my long-standing favorites. Consequently, during the holidays, I like to have a nice slab of smoked salmon on hand.  This is the hot smoked fish; not lox-style salmon. Smoked whitefish would be great also. I know I am a food snob, but I think the best smoked whitefish is from Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

TRY IT WITH SMOKED WHITEFISH, ALSO

Unfortunately, I didn’t think far enough ahead to order some smoked whitefish, and I did not want to drive for 4 1/2 hours to get it.  So, I only have the smoked salmon for this recipe and photo shoot. But trust me, it is delicious.  I think I will update this post in the summer when I get a chance. It should be safe to wander the state again.  Or maybe I should see if I can find a closer source for Upper Michigan’s smoked whitefish. 

I also prefer to use fresh pesto for this recipe, but since I had a jar of good pesto on hand, I just used it.  It is important, I think, to have fresh lemon slices on the platter. The lemon perks up the pesto and cuts the saltiness of smoked fish.

My sweet family and friends harass me about serving food that has “directions for eating”.  It’s true, though, sometimes I put out food that makes someone say, “Umm, what are we supposed to do here?” As a result, even though the presentation seems obvious, I usually place a sample layered cracker on the platter. Then those unfamiliar with the dish get a hint of how to put the appetizer together. Of course, there will always be those who just dive right in and do whatever they want with your gorgeous presentation. Hmm, isn’t that what serving food is all about, anyway?

ALMOST NO WORK INVOLVED!

Remove the skin from the back of the smoked salmon, if you want to make it easier for people to help themselves.  Next, put the smoked fish on a nice platter and add pesto in a small dish and lemon slices. I like to put the crackers in separate dishes now.  I used to put salmon and crackers next to each other on a beautiful bamboo cutting board. It looked great. However, I found that the crackers tended to get soggy from close proximity to the salmon.

And there you have it: a quick, simple, gorgeous looking presentation that appetizing and delectable!

SMOKED SALMON AND PESTO APPETIZER

  • 8 ounces smoked salmon or whitefish
  • 8 ounces pesto (fresh, frozen or jar)
  • Assorted crackers
  • 1 whole fresh Lemon

Remove skin from back of fish. Place pesto in a small bowl. Slice lemons. Arrange all items on a platter or cutting board. Finally, add a knife and/or cutting board so guests can assemble the appetizer as they please.

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