By Denise Albert
One nice aspect of being the child of divorced parents is that on Mother's Day and Father's Day, I have two bonus parents that compliment my biological folks perfectly.
My mother remarried a wonderful man named, Wes, and he has been a joyful addition to our family. And my father added to my life wonderful half sisters who are such a gift to me thanks to his union with my step mother.
Now add to the family mix my husband and his dad-- two amazing men! My father in law set a great example for my husband on how to work hard and care for family.
I don't know what my kids or I would do without these men, these father figures, in our lives. So in honor of dads, step-dads, grandfathers, and all the other fellas out there who fill in the role of dad, I wanted to share this Father's Day recipe with you.
When I was growing up, my step dad, Wes, used to make his "Famous" Salmon Ball. Every year he and my mom would take a trip to Port Washington Wisconsin to salmon fish off Lake Michigan. They would catch their quota of Coho and Sockeye Salmon and bring it home to freeze and smoke.
Now, to be completely honest, I hated the smell of the smoker going for hours in the backyard but I knew I would LOVE the delicious salmon it would produce. I remember my step dad taking the meat off the smoker grill, still warm, and letting us pick some of the meat out of the pan to nibble on. Crazy good! In honor of Father’s Day, I would like to share Wes’ salmon ball recipe with you. Wes was a little annoyed when I asked him to remember a recipe he used so long ago so I told him it was good exercise for his brain.
Ingredients for Smoking the Salmon
Coho or Sockeye Salmon
Kosher Salt for brine
Hickory Wood Chips
There are lots of recipes on the web for a cold smoke which sounds interesting and tasty. Wes would always smoke the salmon in an actual smoker grill full of hickory wood. To do this, brine salmon overnight in kosher salt. Brine is simply salt and water. Prepare smoker with hickory wood chips. Coat brined salmon with brown sugar and place in smoker grill. Let the meat smoke on very low heat for eight hours. Keep an eye on the heat.
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Ball
4 oz of smoked salmon
1 package of cream cheese (lower fat cream cheese can be used here with no flavor difference)
1/2 TBS of minced horseradish
1/4 Cup finely chopped celery
1 TBS chopped green onion
Zest of one lemon and squeezed juice
1/2 Cup crushed pecans
1 TBS finely chopped fresh parsley
Let cream cheese soften at room temperature for half an hour. Crumble smoked salmon in a bowl and fold in softened cream cheese. Add horseradish, celery, and green onion-- fold in. Next add the lemon zest and squeeze lemon and again, fold in. Pepper to taste. No salt is needed as the salmon is already salty from the brining process. Form into a ball. On a plate, mix crushed pecans and finely chopped fresh parsley. Roll the salmon ball into mixture until completely coated. Refrigerate for two hours.
Serve on any cracker you like! We enjoy on a Ritz Cracker. This is so beautiful and special it can be served at any dinner party.