For a Potluck Dinner or Just a Creative Snack, Try this Texas Smoked Salmon Dip with Blue Corn Chips

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

If I am invited to a potluck dinner or any event where I am asked to bring something, I almost always bring a Texas smoked salmon dip that I discovered years ago in Food & Wine Magazine. Chef Dean Fearing takes the traditional grouping of smoked salmon, red onion and capers and “Texafied” it, adding garlic, lime juice, jalapeño along with sour cream and, serves the “tartare” atop a crispy tortilla chip.

Every time I have served this dip aka “tartare,” I receive rave reviews and request for the recipe. I’ve made it so many times I don’t need to refer to the ingredients or instructions but have made little adjustments to the original recipe along the way.

The anchovies really make the dip, bringing that “more please” tangy umami, but since anchovies repulse many people, just leave them out.  If I use the anchovies, I omit the capers as I think it renders the dip too salty, and if I omit the anchovies, I’m sure to use the capers to provide the salty bite.

Garlic paste is an ingredient item that you may not have used or even seen before, so if you can’t find it you can easily make it yourself. In fact, I have never purchased the garlic paste, opting to roast the cloves until soft, then mashing them with a fork. If you would like to make your own paste, there are instructions on how to do this below.

And I recommend using blue corn chips instead of the usual yellow corn as the color contrast against the pink salmon and green cilantro is amazing!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and coarsely chopped (omit if you just can’t stand anchovies)
  • 2 teaspoons roasted garlic paste (store-bought or make your own – see instructions below)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • One 1/2-pound piece skinless smoked salmon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and coarsely chopped, or omit if you don’t want it to be too salty
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, plus a bunch for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Bag of sturdy corn tortilla chips, preferably blue (the color looks great next to the pink salmon)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. If you can’t find garlic paste at the market, you can make your own!  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, then take 3 unpeeled large garlic cloves and put int a foil packet with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Roast the garlic in the oven for about 45 minutes. Take out, let it cool slightly, then mash it.
  2. In a medium bowl, using the back of a fork, mash the anchovies (if using) with the roasted garlic paste, cumin and extra-virgin olive oil. Stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Fold in the smoked salmon, jalapeño, red onion, capers and chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange some of the tortilla chips on a platter. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the smoked salmon tartare onto each chip and top with a cilantro leaf.
  4. Put the rest of the salmon into a small bowl with a spoon and pour the rest of the tortilla chips into a large bowl so guests can serve themselves throughout the potluck, or perhaps it’s just you and a loved one watching a movie at home.
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