Well, I’m home again after 4 days in Panama City, Florida and 2 days of travel going to and fro. I could have used (1) more day of warm sunshine. I bet everyone says that after returning home from a vacation! One of our goals was to immerse ourselves in fresh seafood. I can honestly say we accomplished that one and then some! Another bucket list item was to do a sunset cruise and view the dolphins. Did we see dolphins!!! A tip we might share is as follows: There are a great many trips where you enjoy a sunset cruise and view the dolphins in Northeast Florida. The best choice is to go out on a larger boat where they can create a good current. We saw so many dolphins it was just amazing. (We sailed on the ‘Sea Screamer’.)
What type of seafood did we enjoy? Shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp, fresh tuna and Mahi Mahi. One of the most frequently found appetizers in this area of Florida is smoked tuna dip. The sad part of this is the cost ran from $8. – $15.00 per appetizer. You can make an entire ‘big’ batch of smoked salmon or any seafood for about $7.00. You just have to use fish/seafood that is indigenous to your area, and/or catch your own!
I’ve been making smoked salmon spread for years, in fact, it’s inside my first cookbook. What’s the difference between a smoked tuna and a smoked salmon spread? Very very little. Here in the Ozarks I have frequently prepared smoked trout pate’. In years past I smoked my own fish, but now you can purchase smoked salmon and tuna in the canned meat section. This dip will be good with the prepared smoked fish, but it will be multiple times better if you smoke your own. Here in the Ozarks I would also suggest using crappie for a pate’.
There are usually finely diced onion in the spreads, which is nice. However; don’t go ‘overboard’ or you’ll give the reign of the dish over to the onion, versus the fish.
Another seafood treat we enjoyed was a crab and shrimp spread on French bread, followed by a sprinkling of parmesan or Gouda cheese, before broiling it in the oven. We enjoyed this appetizer in Laurel, Mississippi. You can do cold or hot crab spreads, but for some reason I enjoy mine as a warm dip, served with butter crackers or rye bread.
One seafood I was hoping to enjoy was fresh red snapper, but it’s not in season for another month or so. I mentioned Laurel, Mississippi earlier, this is the location of the HGTV show, ‘Hometown’. I’m glad we didn’t miss this little gem. We even got to watch ‘Ben’ doing some taping while we were at the Scotsman store. Of course we shopped at the Laurel Mercantile Store and I picked up a couple of southern cookbooks put together by the locals, of Laurel. I’m sure you’ll see signs of these recipes in columns to come.
The time away allowed much needed rest and relaxation. The only downer was our corgi, ‘Rumor’, had to stay home.
My original Salmon Spread is below. Take the foundation and just play around. You know growing up my folks would get ‘Whiting’ from the old Mississippi River & it would frequently be smoked. Another idea……….
Smoked Salmon Spread
6 ounces smoked salmon, (skinless & deboned, of course)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion or green onion
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Minced Parsley or Dill to garnish
Best made at least a day ahead of time. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips or specialty breads.
Enjoy the week and signs of spring. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.