There is something about the taste of wild salmon having been air dried by soft, salty ocean breezes and tanned by northern hemisphere sunshine. With each bite that comes the happy communion of sea and wind and sun. It’s simply irresistible. This ancient method of preservation is still practiced in most countries located by the sea, though the species of fish used will vary. Drying in a smoker or a dehydrator is much quicker (wind drying can take several weeks to several months) but that sacrifice is rewarded with a notable mouthfeel and flavor.
A friend shared a small cache of this wind-style Scandinavian salmon after a recent trip. It was cured with a combination of salty sea breeze, sunshine, and woodsmoke. Though we talked away the evening noshing on the deep orange flesh and sipping clear alcohol with olives for hours, there was still about 4 ounces leftover, so I whipped up a simple salmon spread to stretch what remained and share the love.
Although I recommend trying the wind-dry method sometime, any hot-smoked or dried salmon will do for this easy spread. I’ve served it countless times over the years and it always collects compliments.
4 ounces smoked salmon or salmon jerky
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
¼ cup cream (½ and ½, or whipping cream)
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 green onion sliced thin
Pepper sauce to taste
Wasabi paste for garnish
Crackers or toast for serving
Put softened cream cheese in a medium size bowl. Add cream and stir until incorporated. Mix in lemon juice and pepper sauce and stir. Gently fold in salmon and green onion. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and form into a ball. If you’re feeling fancy: large, sparkling orange globes of salmon roe make a beautiful accompaniment and garnish when available. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.