A hot topping for your favorite cracker | Taste, Santa Fe’s food scene

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Since last week I shared my favorite cracker recipe, I thought it only made sense to share my favorite thing to spread on it. This hot smoked salmon pâté recipe is deceptively simple. It can be made in about 10 minutes and used in many ways. It’s a stylish and exciting sofa when plugged into Gougères or over bites of toasted brioche or thick slices of cucumber and garnished with chives and salmon roe, but something about this pâté begs for more humble uses.

I love to serve it simply in a pot with some crusty bread, crackers and cucumber slices. It also makes a nice open face toast sandwich when generously spread on a thick slice of toasted garlic bread with a lemony green salad piled on top. It’s a rich and satisfying combination of flavors, where the smoky depths of salmon sit alongside bright flavors of lemon and horseradish, all whipped together in an airy cloud of cream cheese and creme fraiche.

This could easily be done with smoked trout or any hot smoked white fish. It could even be turned into a vegetarian delight by skipping the fish completely and incorporating it with roasted golden beets. The most important detail of this pâté is to listen to your taste buds, taste as you go, and season generously with salt, pepper, lemon zest or horseradish or chives as needed.

8 ounces hot smoked salmon, skinless, deboned and torn into pieces

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 lemons, zested (juice used for something else)

¼ cup freshly grated horseradish or prepared horseradish

Salt and pepper to taste

Preperation: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whisk together all the ingredients until the pâté is well combined and light and airy. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can accomplish the same thing by whisking the mixture in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and enjoy!

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