Chef and cookbook author Mei Li has a talent for creating recipes with the intent of cleaning out the fridge of all ingredients people usually don’t know what to do with. The inspiration for her creamy, rich salmon dip? “I ordered salmon sashimi from a grocery store and ended up getting salmon trimmings, like weird parts of the salmon,” she says. “So, I thought, ‘How am I going to use this up?’ I just roasted it all and made it into this spread and it became something that’s great for using up leftover fish as well as different dairy—you don’t have to use cream cheese. You can use sour cream or greek yogurt or mascarpone or crème fraïche. There are so many variations.”
8 ounces raw or leftover salmon or smoked salmon, or a combination
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 shallot or 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon dill or parsley, chopped
A few dashes of Dijon mustard, hot sauce, or worcestershire
Freshly ground black pepper
For serving: Sliced bread, cut raw vegetables, or crackers
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees if you’re using uncooked fish. (If you have leftovers or smoked fish, skip this step.) Place uncooked salmon in a roasting dish over a light drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes or until the thickest piece can easily be flaked with a fork. Set aside and let cool.
- In a medium bowl or food processor, mix cream cheese, shallot, capers, lemon zest and juice, and herbs. Add a few dashes of your seasoning sauce of choice. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Once salmon is cool, use a fork to flake into tiny pieces. If you’re using smoked salmon, chop it finely with a sharp knife. Stir salmon thoroughly into the cream cheese mixture and season again to taste.
Recipe ByMei Li of Raleigh, North Carolina