Aunt Ruth's Salmon Spread (Reason #2 why I will never become a complete vegetarian)

November 11, 2012

My second reason as to why I will never become a complete vegetarian (you can read about Reason #1 here) is actually a food item rather than a specific recipe: salmon.  I love it baked with butter and lemon juice, and a trip up Minnesota's North Shore wouldn't be complete without a stop at Lou's Fish House for smoked salmon (and Martha Stewart agrees).  But my all-time favorite salmon recipe is from my Aunt Ruth, a really fabulous cook who makes this salmon spread every Christmas.  When I got married, she gave me a binder filled with tried-and-true family recipes.  There are lots of gems in there, but this is the one I turn to whenever I need to make something for a potluck.

Note: This recipe yields about 3 cups of spread.  Mike and I learned from experience that's a lot of salmon spread for two people to eat their way through, so this is best made for a crowd.


Aunt Ruth's Salmon Spread Ingredients  
  • 14.75 ounce can red sockeye salmon
  • 8 ounce package Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

The hardest part of this recipe comes first: draining and cleaning the salmon.  The first time I made this, I was rather surprised by the amalgamation of salmon, skin, and bone that slid out into my colander in the shape of the can, a la cranberry sauce.

Sockeye Salmon Fresh from Can

Unfortunately, you need to tediously pick out all of little bits of skin and bone.  I've found that the best method is to cut the salmon in half lengthwise and start picking your way through, placing the cleaned salmon in one bowl and the skin and bones in another.

Sockeye Salmon Fresh from the Can

The rest is easy: combine the salmon with the remaining ingredients and chill in refrigerator.  Serve spread over crackers.

Auth Ruth's Salmon Spread