Every now and then you need to feed the soul. This is a recipe/story that explains what I mean.
I'd never been a huge fan of smoked fish dip before, but in 2010, a trip to Astoria, OR changed all that. We were filming a sturgeon episode of Addictive Fishing. We had been on a loooonnnng shoot that day, we were starving, tired, and running on fumes. We called it a wrap, but we had one more stop to make. While dropping off some gear at our camera boat driver's house, we were saying goodbye when he handed us a couple cans of home-smoked sturgeon.
Famished and with quite a bit of a drive ahead of us, we stopped at the corner gas station, bought a can opener, some crackers and hit the road. I cracked open the can of smoked sturgeon, tore into the sleeve of crackers and we dug in. It was smoked sweetness that saved us!! So good, we pulled off the main road, drove onto the beach of Astoria, and watched the sun set over the Pacific. Truly a Zen moment.
To this day I still believe that may be the BEST meal I've ever had! I can't help but think of the comedic genius, but oh so true words of Eddie Murphy: "If you're starving and somebody throw you a cracker, you gonna be like this: Goddamn, that's the best cracker I ever ate in my life! That ain't no regular cracker, was it? What was that, a Saltine? Goddamn, that was delicious. That wasn't no Saltine. That was... That was a Ritz. That wasn't a Ritz? God, that was the best cracker I ever ate in my life."
Okay, so back to the recipe . . . it was happy hour here on the Dirty Dog Ranch one night about a month later, we were reminiscing and going through photos of our Oregon trip when my husband says, "did we bring any of those cans of smoked sturgeon back with us?" So I start rummaging through the fridge and find the silver can of smoked sweetness! I start thinking of what I can do with it and that's when I came up with one of my favorite go-to recipes ever. It takes us back every time so, here's what you'll need:
1 12 oz tub of 1/3 Fat Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
4 - 6 oz of smoked fish (any kind you have on hand - if packed in oil or water, drain but reserve liquid)
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion (I use sweet Spanish or Vidalia, but you can use whatever you prefer)
2 - 3 stalks of finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons of finely chopped dill
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
Mix all the ingredients together and chill. If the mixture is too thick, add a little of the reserved liquid from the smoked fish. If fish wasn't packed in liquid at all, add about a tablespoon of white wine.
I make my own crostini to go with this dip, but you can put it on your favorite cracker of choice. Just don't get something that will compete with the flavor of the dip. You can also serve this with celery sticks, carrots or even endive leaves. It's a hit every time I make it . . . it's the first thing gone when I serve an appetizer spread to guests.
How to make your own crostini:
Baguette of bread (French, Cuban, Italian, whole grain, sesame, whatever you like)
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Slice baguette into 1/4 rounds and place on a cookie sheet in a single layer
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with salt & pepper
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and crispy
Cool before serving
Easy and Smokin'!