Smoked Fish Dip

The Quintessential Seafood Party Platter

Chef Kevin Kelly April 15, 2010

Ingredients

(Serves 4-6)

  • 8 oz. fresh blackfin tuna
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 lemon, zested w/ juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • seasonings to taste

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It is hard to find anyone that doesn’t enjoy snacking on fresh fish dip. Simple and delicious, it’s quite possibly the quintessential seafood party platter. I chose to smoke fresh blackfin tuna, although you can substitute with almost any species. King mackerel, dolphin, wahoo, swordfish, amberjack, grouper and snapper all make for delicious dip.

No matter what fish you select you’ll want to prepare the fillets a day in advance. It will also serve you well to keep the skin intact as this will greatly enhance the flavor. I made a homemade dry rub with two parts brown sugar, one part salt and a dash of Old Bay. Apply the dry rub and let the fillets sit uncovered in fridge for approximately 24-hours. After the fillets have cured, thoroughly rinse them with freshwater to remove the salty rub. Now you’re ready to start smoking.

Smoking is a technique that cooks, adds flavor and preserves food by exposure to smoke from burning wood. There’s a wide range of smokers available and while the price, storage capacity and smoking methods vary greatly; they all yield quality smoked fish if used correctly. The most commonly used wood chips include oak, maple, alder, mesquite as well as chips from fruit-producing trees such as cherry, apple and plum. I chose hickory for its powerful aromatic flavor. Low heat and long duration is key to a flavorful dip. I settled on 225-degrees for 45-minutes. It’s also important to soak your wood chips in water for approximately 45-minutes prior to use. When your smoker has reached the desired temperature, place your pre-soaked chips in a smoker box or foil pouch and preheat for 10-minutes. When you see smoke, you’re ready to start.

If you don’t have access to a smoker, don’t despair. You can purchase smoked fish from any local grocery store. Either way, you’ll need to pull the fish off the skin and flake the meat into a fine consistency. You’ll also want to discard any remaining bones/bloodline/skin. You can utilize a food processer or electric mixer, but a bit of elbow grease will do the trick. From here all that’s left is to mix your desired ingredients into a large bowl. I choose a spread with a mix of mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, celery, jalapeno, parsley, pepper and dill. Serve with crackers, carrots, celery and lemon or lime wedges and enjoy!

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