We have been brining and smoking fillets all week! Today I do the final glazing, cooking and tasting. I’m a bit of a nervous wreck over the prospect of ruining 100 lbs of precious Bodega Bay King salmon, but I am really hoping that all of the testing and fretting pays off. The good people over at Lagunitas donated some Hop Stoopid to my beer-brined salmon cause, so at least we know we started off with quality ingredients and a solid process.
There are two recipes this week, and both are good for PARTIES! Invite friends over for brunch and make quiche, or make smoked salmon spread before you watch some football. Clearly, the message here is that smoked salmon is for sharing.
Smoked Salmon, Leek, and Rancho Nicasio Foggy Morning Mini Quiche
Yield: 18 mini quiche
Enough of your favorite pie crust for the top and bottom crust of one 10-inch pie.(I was lazy and bought one at the grocery store. The brand may or may not have rhymed with illsbury. I know. I know.)
Beans (or pie weights)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 shallots, sliced thin (About 1/2 cup.)
2 leeks, sliced into 1/2 inch strips (About 1 cup.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 cups half and half
4 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tsp lemon zest
8 oz. hot smoked salmon, skin removed and flaked with a fork. Picked through to remove pin bones.
1 round of Rancho Nicasio Foggy Morning Cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes. (You can use any other soft cheese with a good bite. Any goat cheese would be delicious.)
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cut pie crusts into rounds that fit the muffin tin. (I had a glass that made rounds that fit perfectly.) You will need to combine and roll out the scraps so that you can use all of your dough. Spray the muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and mold the dough rounds into the cups. Line the dough with foil and fill the cups up half way with beans or pie weights. Blind bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the beans and foil. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of each crust and return to the oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes.
3. While the crusts are baking, melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the shallots and saute until translucent. Add the leeks, salt, and pepper and continue to saute until the leeks are soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. In a large bowl, beat together the half and half and the eggs.
5. When the leek/shallot mixture has cooled completely, add it to the egg/half and half mixture. Stir well to combine. Gently fold in the flaked smoked salmon, 1 Tbsp chopped dill, lemon zest, and the cubed (or chunked) cheese until the mixture is just barely combined.
6. Spoon a scant 1/8 cup of filling into each crust. The filling mixture should come up to the top of the crust.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the quiche puff and the tops are light brown. Allow to cool completely before removing them from the muffin tin. Sprinkle with the remaining dill before serving.
Smoked Salmon Spread
Social media is magical. I tweeted about my smoked salmon adventure and hot bitch/chef/buddy Akiko Moorman sent me some smoked salmon spread recipes within the hour. As an Alaskan, the lady knows her smoked salmon, so I used the recipe she provided from her hometown smokehouse with a few small changes to accommodate our hoppy, beer brined version.
1/2 lb cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (Reserve a few fronds for garnish as well)
8 oz. hot smoked salmon, skin removed, cut into small chunks, picked through to remove bones.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl with a big spoon) mix all of the ingredients together using the paddle attachment until well combined.
2. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with the reserved dill.