Ricotta and Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon, or lox, is one of my top favorite indulgences, along with steak tartare and foie gras.

I love smoked salmon served in the traditional manner, alongside cream cheese with a generous amount of capers and diced purple onions. Warm, toasted bagels are the best, but for me, just about any bread or toast will do, because it’s mostly about the salmon itself.

To serve smoked salmon this way, you need to have a trustworthy source, because there is smoked salmon that is inferior in quality. If I’m having a party or get-together of sorts and want to put out a traditional smoked salmon spread, I buy mine from a company called Mackenzie Ltd.. I prefer their Scottish salmon.

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What bothers me the most about buying smoked salmon is that it is typically sold in 4 ounce packages. Who needs just 4 ounces of salmon? I most often need somewhere between 4 ounces and a whole 2 pound side of smoked salmon, but no one seems to care about my opinion.

Well speaking of little packages of smoked salmon, I happened to have a couple of them leftover from the holidays. They seem to keep forever if you freeze them. My plan is to dice the smoked salmon and use it in a spread, mixed with ricotta. If you’ve never made your own, I highly recommend it!

I’ve made many different kinds of spreads using smoked salmon – my most favorite is a warm dip that utilizes both cooked and smoked salmon. It’s absolutely divine. But today I’m just making a rustic spread that highlights the ricotta and the salmon.

This wasn’t the best smoked salmon in the first place, but I had to buy it locally for some purpose back in December, without time to place an online order. Thus my leftover 4 ounce packages.

But I tested it out and even after freezing and thawing, is tastes exactly the same as it did originally, which isn’t great, but it will do for this spread. You could also add some of this diced salmon in a quiche or pasta, but I’d never use this variety for bagels and lox presentation. It’s just doesn’t compare to the real stuff.

So here’s what I did to make this ricotta and smoked salmon spread. It’s more of a guide than a recipe, because it depends how much you want to make. The way I make it, without diced onions included, it will store in the refrigerator until you want to serve it again. I don’t personally feel that chopped onions keep well, but you could sprinkle the spread with freshly chopped onions or chives if you wish.

If you make this spread and have some left over, add it to hot, cooked pasta. Then there would be no waste!

Ricotta and Smoked Salmon Spread

Home-made ricotta or store-bought, at room temperature
Whipped cream cheese or regular, at room temperature
Smoked salmon, diced
Capers, well drained
Diced purple onion, optional
Chopped chives, optional

Place about equal amounts of the ricotta and whipped cream cheese in a medium bowl.

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Beat it together with a spoon until combined.

Dice the salmon and add it to the cheeses. I used this salmon.

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Then add the capers.

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Gently mix everything together until evenly distributed.

Then you have a choice. You could fill up a pretty crock or bowl with this mixture, or mold it in a bowl lined with plastic wrap for a prettier presentation (although I usually add a little butter to these mixtures so they mold better). In this case, I simply grabbed the whole mixture with my (clean) hands and formed a ball with it. I placed the ball on a wooden board.

Then I sprinkled chopped chives over the top.

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Today I served torn up pieces of naan with the spread.

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I also included a few garlic-stuffed olives for fun.

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I served a sauvignon blanc along with the spread and bread, nice and chilled.

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Any kind of bread or toasts, or even good crackers could be substituted for the naan.

An important thing to note is that this spread must be served at room temperature. If the spread needs to be refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature prior to serving. Flavors are just enhanced at room temperature, plus it makes the spread smoother for spreading on the bread.

note: One could always use farmer’s cheese or fromage blanc in place of the fresh ricotta.

By Published On: April 25th, 201428 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

28 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller April 25, 2014 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    What a great snack or appetizer! You can get larger packs of smoked salmon in London. But a whole side only at special times like Christmas.

    • chef mimi April 25, 2014 at 5:54 PM - Reply

      Oh, that’s nice. 4 ounces is nothing!

  2. Cecile April 25, 2014 at 8:22 AM - Reply

    Ooooh – I swear I can taste this… just from reading the recipe! Love it !!!

    • chef mimi April 25, 2014 at 6:04 PM - Reply

      Thank you Cecile!

      • Cecile April 27, 2014 at 7:14 AM

        It’s already been ‘repinned’ by one of my Pinterest followers!

      • chef mimi April 28, 2014 at 8:24 AM

        WOW!

  3. Debra Corliss Clark April 25, 2014 at 8:35 AM - Reply

    You had me at salmon! being from the Pacific Northwest, I’ve had it several different ways and this just sounds terrific! I can’t wait to try your recipe.

    • chef mimi April 25, 2014 at 5:53 PM - Reply

      Oh, I think that’s where I first fell in love with salmon. It was probably from Alaska, but at least it was available there! We lived in Seattle for a few years. What a beautiful state!

  4. emmabarrett1508 April 25, 2014 at 8:49 AM - Reply

    Ricotta and smoked salmon is one of my favourite sandwich fillings. I had never thought of serving it like this. What a fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing. Great for summer dining in the garden too. Emma xx

    • chef mimi April 25, 2014 at 5:51 PM - Reply

      Smoked salmon really suits spring and summer, doesn’t it?!!!

  5. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward April 25, 2014 at 11:36 AM - Reply

    I agree – it’s next to none. Your soft bread looks beautiful, too. :-)

  6. Sister Michelle April 25, 2014 at 2:26 PM - Reply

    Simple, elegant and looks delicious. This is getting clipped to my cheese recipe files…. thank you.

  7. Jovina Coughlin April 25, 2014 at 4:29 PM - Reply

    Never thought to combine ricotta and salmon. Great idea.

    • chef mimi April 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM - Reply

      Or you could just stick with cream cheese, but I prefer the combination. It’s a little lighter!

  8. backpackbee April 25, 2014 at 6:09 PM - Reply

    This is a delightful party appetizer! Thanks for sharing!

  9. love in the kitchen April 26, 2014 at 10:13 PM - Reply

    I’m with you – I could use 2 lbs of smoked salmon as well! I haven’t tried curing or smoking my own – perhaps that the solution for us. Love the recipe – I bet this would be amazing melted through hot pasta too….

    • chef mimi April 28, 2014 at 8:23 AM - Reply

      4 ounce packages are ridiculous. I’ve seen such simple recipes for gravlax but have never done it. Perhaps it is time, like you said!!!

  10. Toludc April 27, 2014 at 11:26 AM - Reply

    This looks delicious!

  11. gwynnem April 28, 2014 at 11:03 AM - Reply

    This recipe sounds so good. Saving it to my Pinterest board for my next dinner party. Thank you!

  12. marymtf April 29, 2014 at 7:41 PM - Reply

    I didn’t know you could freeze smoked salmon. The n again it rarely lasts long enough to need it. Like you recipe Mimi.

    • chef mimi April 29, 2014 at 7:50 PM - Reply

      Thank you! We usually manage to finish our smoked salmon as well! But yes, it maintains its integrity very well when frozen!

  13. Marcelle May 9, 2022 at 11:04 PM - Reply

    Mimi, this smoked salmon spread looks wonderful!! I think I will make this next weekend and serve it with a nice assortment of crackers!! I’m looking forward to it, I already know it will be so good!

    • Chef Mimi May 10, 2022 at 6:56 AM - Reply

      Thank you! A little feta or goat cheese is also good in this mix!

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