My Grandmother made a version of this appetizer whenever she went to parties or to bridge luncheons. She used a 16-oz can of red salmon. Our contemporary focus on fresh foods led me to swap out the canned salmon. I bake fresh (wild caught or sustainably produced) salmon and flake it (instructions below). Feel free to substitute canned salmon if you wish. It will certainly be cheaper and odds are no one will notice the difference, except me.
- 1 lb fresh salmon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion (super teeny, tiny)
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
- ½ cup chopped pecans plus an extra 2 tablespoons
- 4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 400.
Rub the salmon lightly with olive oil on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the salmon on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until it is just cooked through. Do not over-bake. You want the salmon to be moist and tender, not dry. Take the salmon off of the cookie tray and place in a bowl. Remove the skin and any bones. Flake the salmon with a fork. You want the salmon in little pieces just the way you would break apart a can of tuna before you add mayonnaise to make tuna fish. Allow the fish to cool. If you used canned salmon drain and flake the salmon, and remove any skin and bones. Combine the salmon with the remaining ingredients leaving aside the extra pecans AND one tablespoon of the parsley; mix thoroughly. Chill several hours.
Combine additional pecans and parsley. Shape salmon mixture into 8×2 log; place the pecans and parsley on a cutting board and roll the salmon log in the nut mixture. Chill well.
The salmon loaf can be made a day ahead. Serve with crackers, or if you want to make individual appetizers put a dollop of salmon spread on a good quality kettle potato chip. Spread the individual appetizers on a tray. Serve.