Recipe and Photos by Cody Owens
I think I have a problem. I cannot stop smoking salmon. It’s one of those things that just kind of snuck up on me, and before I knew what was happening, I was smoking salmon maybe three or four times a week—sometimes twice a day.
But I’m not going to ask you to do that with this recipe. You can if you want, but there is no peer pressure—we can get into that a little later. In the meantime, store-bought smoked salmon (lox) will work just fine for this recipe.
This dip is tangy, sweet, and smoky with a little bit of what I like to call “root heat” from the horseradish. Let me just tell you now: You’re going to have to physically restrain yourself from eating the whole ding dang thing in one sitting. Here’s how it comes together.
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup Greek yogurt
(You can scale this up or down but it’s 2 parts ricotta, 1 part Greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon honey
1 big tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
¼ cup pickles, finely diced
Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
Big handful chopped scallions
At least 1 pack smoked salmon (lox)—(they’re typically 4 oz. but feel free to add more)
Toasted panko breadcrumbs for garnish
Salt and black pepper to taste
How to make it:
Start by toasting some panko breadcrumbs in a skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes until golden brown, and set aside for later.
Everything else comes together in a large mixing bowl. Break up the salmon into small pieces and combine all the ingredients into the bowl and mix well. Let that chill in the fridge for a little bit if you have the time. If not, that’s OK!
Add to the serving bowl and top with the toasted breadcrumbs, a little more salmon, more scallions, and any other herbs you might like—dill would be lovely here.
Serve with potato chips. That’s it.
If you have a charcoal grill, you can smoke salmon no problem. Here’s how I do it. I typically do two decent sized filets and season with lemon pepper, cayenne, onion powder, and paprika. But you can use whatever seasoning you like.
For the grill, I do a small amount of charcoal on one side of the grill and let that get going. I’ll add pecan chips on top of that once the coals are ready, then place salmon filets on the opposite side of the grill away from direct heat. Cover and let that go for about an hour. This can vary based on your grill, but mine hovers around 250 degrees. It’s best to undercook it slightly so it doesn’t turn into salmon bricks. You can take a fork and break off a piece to see if it’s cooked to your liking, but it’s usually done after an hour.
This may sound like a chore, but if you try it, I promise you’ll see how easy it is, and you can riff on this technique any way you like. It’s amazing on salads, spreads, or just as a main dish. I really hope you smoke some.