When I went to Seattle a couple of months ago, one of my aunts gave me two beautiful vacuum-packed fillets of hot smoked salmon to bring back with me to Boston.
I remember eating a smoked salmon and cream cheese piroshky at Pike Place (a piroshky is a Russian hand pie) with a really flaky and buttery crust, and I wanted to re-create those flavors. I put together this Hot Smoked Salmon Tart, inspired by the easy Tarte Flambee I made last year. All I needed was frozen puff pastry (one of my favorite short-cuts), a box of low-fat cream cheese, Greek yogurt, hot smoked salmon, some spices and chives.
Take note that hot smoked salmon is different from the smoked salmon, or lox, which is usually served with bagels and cream cheese. Hot smoked salmon is fully cooked with smoked heat (think: barbecue) while lox is salt-cured then cold-smoked. That’s why the texture of lox is more similar to the texture of salmon sashimi, while the texture of hot smoked salmon is flakier and chunkier because it is cooked fish. Huffington Post has a good article on the differences between smoked salmon, lox, and gravlax.
This hot smoked salmon tart is essentially a pizza – a fancy pizza because the crust is made with puff pastry – but also an incredibly easy pizza because it takes less than 30 minutes to make. I didn’t stretch out my pastry crust as thin as I did with the Tarte Flambee because I wanted a sturdier base for the heavier cream cheese and Greek yogurt mixture. The crust still crisped up nicely on the bottom and held up really well.
I think I made too much topping though, but you won’t find me complaining about a pizza with more toppings than crust. I only used one sheet of frozen pastry, but I’m pretty sure the smoked salmon mixture is enough for two sheets.
This tart would make a great appetizer (just cut it into smaller squares) or a nice meal (serve with an arugula salad and a glass of crisp wine). It would even pass for breakfast or brunch – after all, it has salmon, cream cheese, yogurt, and a croissant-like pastry crust. Each bite is creamy and rich and oh so delicious.
Hot Smoked Salmon Tart
8 oz hot smoked salmon, flaked
8 oz low-fat cream cheese
2/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
generous dash of Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste
chopped chives, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out your puff pastry. You can further stretch and flatten it using a rolling pin, so that it fits your baking sheet more evenly. Line a 9x12 baking sheet with parchment paper or foil before putting dough in.
- In a small bowl, combine smoked salmon, cream cheese, and Greek yogurt. Mix well until smooth. Add chili pepper flakes, Tabasco, and salt and pepper.
- Spread the smoked salmon mixture over dough.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are puffy and golden. Sprinkle with chives and cut into rectangles before serving.
Note that I used hot smoked salmon, which is different from lox (cured and cold-smoked). Hot smoked salmon is fully cooked with heated smoked (similar to a barbecue). However, you can also substitute lox or cold smoked salmon.
Do you ever use frozen puff pastry for savory dishes? Share your recipes in the comments section!