Prep 30 mins
Cook 8 hrs
From the "Smokin" cookbook. Elegant sounding but absolute simplicity to pull off, this is a surefire party hit. Serve with whole wheat crackers, thin slices of seven-grain bread cut into triangles, or Pumpernickel Melba Toasts. Leftovers freeze beautifully. Makes an 8-inch round, about 20 appetizer servings.
- 16 ounces smoked salmon, fillets
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
- 2 medium leeks, trimmed and cleaned, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 1/2 cups)
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Smoke salmon fillets using alder, cherry or maple wood chips over medium heat with your stove top smoker (see related recipe).
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
- Stir in the leeks, season them lightly with salt & pepper, cover the skillet, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Check the leeks from time to time, stir and lower the heat if any of the leeks start to brown.
- Scrape the leeks into a bowl and cool to room temperature.
- While the leeks are cooling, lightly oil a 4-cup souffle dish or loaf pan.
- Flake the smoked salmon, checking for and discarding bones, skin, and the grayish fatty layer next to the skin as you go.
- Add the flaked fish to the leeks in the bowl.
- Toss the leeks and salmon together with the dill and lemon juice.
- Scrape the salmon mixture into the bowl of a food processor.
- Cut the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add to the salmon mixture.
- Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times, until the salmon mixture is smooth with flecks of leek and dill running through it.
- Taste and add salt & pepper if necessary.
- Scrape the mixture into a prepared dish.
- Tamp it lightly to make sure there are no air pockets, then smooth the top into an even layer.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days.
- Bring to room temperature one hour before serving.
- If you like, unmold the pate onto a serving plate by immersing the pate dish up to its edge in a large bowl of hot water for about 3 minutes.
- The time it takes to loosen the pate from its mold depends on the material the mold is made of and the temperature of the water.
- Run a thin-bladed knife along the inside edges of the container to free the sides.
- Invert the pate on to the plate.
- If it doesn't slip out in a few seconds, re-immerse the container and try again. Serve immediately.