The savory cheesecake I made here with a potato chip crust is very popular, so why not give you another recipe for a savory smoked salmon cheesecake appetizer. It’s New Year’s Eve and this is the perfect creamy, savory, salty last indulgence of the year.
I have a bittersweet story about New Year’s Eve. I have a favorite aunt, Aunt Rita, my godmother, my mother’s sister, and a woman who’s memory I will always cherish. I showed you her sand tart recipe this month, although her signature dish was stuffed shells. If you hadn’t had her stuffed shells, you were probably not her friend.
She was into classic, smart fashion, the kind of clothing that was made well and lasted for decades. I still use her purses from 40 years ago. Her end came too soon for me, but graciously fitting, as she was ballroom dancing, something she was passionately involved in all of her life. She was a widow, and now with a new man. I never liked her husband, as he was a rather joyless man, an OCD clean freak, with a bit of a mean spirit. This new man was full of life, love and generosity, the complete opposite.
He was the last person she looked in the eyes before she died, as she waltzed around the room doing the thing she loved the most. I still have her size 6 glass slippers, and, although she wasn’t wearing those that night, it was still kind of a Cinderella story. Her husband left her pennyless, and the new man was taking care of everything, including a brand new outfit for the New Year’s Eve dance.
The next few days were full of the usual family drama, but I was able to plan things for her in a way she deserved, with a beautiful Catholic service, probably the sweetest funeral service I’ve ever attended. The only thing that went wrong is the way the funeral director fixed her hair. She wore a straight bob with bangs and they curled them in a very old lady way, not her style at all.
She was kinder than I realized, as people I never knew or heard about showed up, grieved and shaken, because she had done something to touch their life. I knew she had made a difference in my life, always encouraging me and helping me weather the mother-daughter trials of my life, but I didn’t know she extended that beyond our family. My mother always made me feel like someone I wasn’t, but my aunt made me feel like who I really was.
Death brings crazy people to the door, and this was no exception. People I didn’t know knocked on the door insisting my aunt had promised them various things. One came to get a house plant. Someone came in and went upstairs and stole jewelry right under our nose. One character, whom I knew from childhood as Big Mary, showed up at the viewing and funeral pretending to care about my aunt. She softened my heart so much I gave her several boxes of my aunt’s possessions, only to find out she was there to spy, sent by another estranged relative. It was a sad time, a stressful time, a surprising time.
A nice surprise was receiving a phone call from her first and only true love. Later I found his love letters in a box, and I discovered the divorce was not his idea, but was a result more from the hold my grandmother had on her He was Sam Sr., the father of the cousin I talk about, Sam Jr.. and have dedicated this blog to.
These memories make me take a deep breath.
We have no idea how tonight will end or what tomorrow will bring. It could be the time to make things right, or at least forgive people in your hear. My aunt’s passion was dancing and she danced her whole life. She died dancing with a man who loved her. She danced up to her last step.
Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
I’ve made this three ways. One six inch cheesecake with a potato chip crust, one four inch cheesecake with no crust and one in a mason jar. This recipe will make two six inch cheesecake, a larger 10 inch cheesecake or the three ways I mentioned. If you do use mason jars, pay attention to the changes I make in the recipe.
This is a perfect New Year’s Eve appetizer and goes quite nicely with a little bubbly.
Enjoy your last day of 2013. Do something silly. Do something kind. Do something that takes courage. Forgive someone. Celebrate with someone. Enjoy elegant party food like this savory smoked salmon cheesecake.
Dance to your last step.
- 1 8 ounce bag of kettle cooked or ruffled potato chips
- 14 ounces of cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon flour (optional)
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 4 ounces chopped smoked salmon
- ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped and extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons sour cream (can use extra for garnish as option)
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees
- Using a rolling pin or a food processor, crush chips into large crumbs. Add a tablespoon of melted butter to the chips and press into pans. Bake for five minutes. Set Aside.
- Saute shallots to sweat them. Set aside.
- Whip cream cheese in food processor. Once smooth, add in sour cream, flour, dill shallots.
- Add eggs one at a time. If you have a Vitamix, you can add eggs first followed by the rest of the ingredients.
- Chop salmon, squeeze lemon on salmon.
- Once mixture is smooth, add in chopped salmon and mix thoroughly.
- Pour into two six inch pans or one 10 inch pan and bake at 475 for five minutes. Turn heat down to 250 and bake for another 10-15 minutes until set. Cheesecake should be a little jiggly.
- Turn oven off, open oven door and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Cool completely, top with sour cream, garnish with dill, capers and lemon twists.
- You can choose to serve warm with crackers, bread toasts or vegetables such as cucumber slices, lettuce leaves.