Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Rollups

>> Sunday, April 30, 2017

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Rollups

My bio-dad, Rick, was an avid fisherman in Southwestern Michigan. His first fishing boat, the Cricket, was a little four-seater that he took out on the small sleepy lakes that speckled our county. On foggy early mornings, a thermos of coffee for him, hot chocolate for me, our gear and a good book, we were off into the lilypads and quiet inlets of Little Paw Paw Lake.

I don't remember whether I actually caught any fish, and I have a hunch than my dad might have allowed me to claim that the fish I'm holding in the picture were ones that I bagged. I didn't like the whole fishing process - I felt sorry for the worm, sorry for the fish, and grossed out by touching the bait. But I did love to drowse in the sun with a good book and hang out with him. He was not very talkative on the boat but could tell a good story.

Later on, he traded up into a bigger boat, the SherAn (a combo name of his daughters Sheryl and Angela). I can't tell you anything about boats or sizes but the engine was bigger, there was storage under the seats instead of lake water, and there was a glass windshield. There was also a Fish Lo-K-Tor and downriggers that Rick hand-machined and lovingly attached. He was taking this one out on the big lake.

Rick caught steelhead trout, coho salomn and sturgeon on Lake Michigan, and went smelting in the spring off the St. Joseph piers. One of the most scary and exhilarating sights was to head off from a storm barrelling across the lake, when there was only the boat, the gray water, the rain, and the sky. The horizon was a seamless blend of lake and air. Seems like we always came home ravenous.

One year he bought a four-shelf smoker about three feet tall, and began smoking the fish for a change of taste. His smoked coho salmon was brown-fleshed, rather than the bright color of ocean salmon, but densely flavored and tender.

Recently, a friend gave me a gift of home-smoked salmon, and it brought back all kinds of memories of boats and reading Zilpha Keatley Snyder and Native American legends and steaming rich plastic cups of cocoa, and my dad telling me pay attention, I had a bite.

Fishing season has begun on Lake Michigan, though I no longer have a boat. If you have avid fishing friends with access to a fish smoker, they might offer you a few pieces of fresh-smoked coho or steelhead. I made these smoked salmon rollups with my friend's fish, and each morsel was a taste of the past.


1/2 cup chives, chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
4 oz smoked salmon
1 small cucumber
12 spikes of green onions
8-10 flour tortillas


Mix well the chives, dill, lemon zest, and cream cheese. Slice the salmon as thinly as possible. If you have a kitchen mandolin, this might help. My salmon had been frozen and was rather crumbly when I defrosted it, so I shredded it instead.

Thinly slice the cucumber lengthwise. I bet a kitchen mandolin would work well for this too, but I don't have one so I used a vegetable peeler.

Bend the package of tortillas back and forth a couple of times to prevent them from sticking together. Microwave the package for about 30 seconds until they are pilable. Usually I would heat tortillas on a dry griddle, but this recipe needs soft, moist flour tortillas.

Spread about 1 1/2 tbsp of the cream cheese mixture on each tortilla, making sure you spread it clear to the ends of each one. Place the salmon, cucumber, and green onions lengthwise in the center half of the tortilla. I added a little more dill because I love it fresh. Starting at the left side, tightly roll up the tortilla to the other side, stuffing in the ingredients if they start to roll out. Seal the seam with the cream cheese on the other side of the wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.

Slice each roll into 1-inch pieces. I cut off the misshapen ends where there were few ingredients and Joe and I quality-checked those. It was good. We served them on their sides so you could see the spiral design of the salmon rollups. Yum!

Makes approximately 60 little rolls.


Pork Chop Valdostano (stuffed pork chop)

>> Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pork Chop Valdostano (stuffed pork chop)

Joe and I were looking through cookbooks for some new recipe ideas, and I pulled down a cookbook from Rao's, a famous Italian restaurant in New York City. The original recipe was made with veal chops, prosciutto, and golden raisins, but we made it a little more budget-friendly with Virginia ham, black raisins, and boneless pork chops. Joe gave the recipe a few more tweaks for our taste, and he says that next time he makes this, he'll try a bone-in chop for ease of stuffing, and golden raisins for a prettier presentation.

6 6 oz, 1 1/2 inch thick pork chops, trimmed of all fat
12 pieces of ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/2 cup black or golden raisins
6 thin slices of mozzarella cheese
2 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. butter
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

For the egg batter:
2 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tbsp. minced Italian parsley
dash of salt and pepper

Cut each chop open horizontally to the bone, splitting it open like a hamburger bun. Pound the meat very thin. Layer the inside of each chop with a slice of ham,  a spoonful of raisins, a slice of mozzarella, and another slice of ham. Fold the top of the chop down and pound the edges together until sealed.

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Dredge each chop in flour and then dip the chops into the egg batter. Cook the chops five minutes on each side, then place on a platter and keep warm in the oven.

Sprinkle the onions with flour and then saute in the saucepan until soft. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about five minutes. Stir in butter, and when it is melted, return the chops to the pan.

Pour in the broth and wine and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Place a chop on each plate and pour several spoonfuls of sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan before serving.

Serves 6.

Find more of Rao's recipes here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP