Oh man… (yep that’s all I can say) oh man, this is a phenomenal appetizer! I served it at a recent get-together we had in our condo and it was gone in less than 20 minutes. To say it is out of this world is an understatement. I can’t tell you how many of my guests asked for the recipe.
But with all good things there is always a catch and this recipe is no exception. Although it is phenomenal, it is also expensive. You need 16 ounces of the key ingredient, the smoked salmon, and that comes at a cost. I was able to buy a 16 ounce package at my local grocery store and it was on sale at $19.95 from $22.95. That’s a pretty hefty price tag for about 35-40 appetizers. For 40 squares it amounts to approximately sixty cents per square – so definitely much more in the pricey range. But as an infrequent splurge you just can’t beat it. Everyone at my party raved over this. So on that special occasion when you want to make a significant impression, this is the recipe for you!
So with that in mind, let’s talk smoked salmon bites…
Lesson Learned 1 – The process for making these bites is important to follow: The process for putting these together in itself is not difficult. It is very similar to making appetizer pinwheels. But there are a few variations that you need to keep in mind. This recipe calls for using 3 large tortillas. Within those tortillas you need to create a square of cream cheese mixture and smoked salmon in order to cut the bites into square pieces. That is not that difficult as you can see by the pictures below (not a perfect square by any means but that is still ok). The key is to make the largest square possible inside the round tortilla leaving only minimal areas at the rounded edges that will eventually be discarded.
Once the three layers have been completed, it is also important to take something like a cutting board and place it on top of the tortillas and press down slightly to ensure that the filling is evenly distributed within the square before your refrigerate it. I also learned a tip from another very similar recipe. If you lightly butter (and I mean very lightly) the second and third tortilla before you place it on top of the smoked salmon it will help keep the tortillas in place when you cut them. The butter clings to the smoked salmon which in turn secures the tortilla.
It is also important that this appetizer be given sufficient time to chill so that it can be cut easily. I recommend at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. That’s another great aspect of this appetizer, it can easily be made the day ahead and cut right before you intend to serve it. So all the heavy lifting is done in advance. As a matter of fact you can even make it two days in advance but don’t go beyond that.
Lesson Learned 2 – Use a serrated knife to cut the bites: If you use a serrated knife to cut the bites and use a back and forth cutting motion less filling, if any, will come out the sides. The cutting process will be a whole lot faster and easier.
We had about 20 people over at the party when I served this and I was so happy with not only how well it was received but also how easy it was to cut and serve the day of the party. Any host will appreciate not having to labor over a dish they are serving and rather spend more time with their guests and so the ability to make this ahead of time was very appealing to me. I certainly hope that you try this recipe at some point. I know I will be thoughtful about when to serve this, especially due to the cost, but I will definitely make this again.
Smoked Salmon Bites
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2-3 scallions, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 medium to large lemon, zested
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dill + sprigs for presentation (sprigs optional)
3 large soft tortillas
16 oz. of smoked salmon sliced thin
small amount of softened butter
Lemon slices for garnish (optional)
Mix cream cheese, sour cream, scallions, garlic powder, lemon zest, salt and dill. Lay out a tortilla and spread half of the cream cheese mixture into a large square inside the tortilla, making as large of a square as possible. Top with half of the smoked salmon.
Take the second tortilla and butter it lightly. Put the buttered side down on top of the smoked salmon. Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture in the shape of a large square on top of the tortilla. Top the cream cheese mixture with the remaining smoked salmon.
Take the third tortilla and butter it lightly. Place the buttered side on top of the smoke salmon and press down lightly. Using a cutting board or a frying pan, press down on the tortillas to ensure the filling is equally distributed. Keep the tortillas flat and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight is preferable.
Remove the plastic wrap when ready to cut. Cut off all four rounded edges to create a square. Cut the tortillas into 1 inch strips lengthwise and then cut each strip into 1 inch squares. Place a toothpick in the center of each square and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with dill sprigs and lemon slices if so desired. Serve.