As a food journalist I have attended many dinner parties and gatherings. I cooked and dined with the most talented chefs from India, France, Japan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Iran and many other parts of the world that have incredible cuisines. I ate with my hands and with silver spoons. I sat and ate on the floor and at the most meticulously set tables where "haute cuisine" was served. But here is something interesting that I have noticed. There is nothing that excites people more than Hors d'Oeuvres. Food unites people and Hors d'Oeuvres break the ice. May it be a simple a cracker topped with some cheese or a sophisticated artistic creation. People love that first bite they have before sitting down to have the main meal. And if the wine is served to go along with Hors d'Oeuvres... Well, the party is elevated to the next level.
My Maple Salmon Pâté is a great party starter. It can be served assembled on a piece of baguette or in a bowl with slices of baguette on the side. A good chardonnay or champagne are perfect pairings to go with this starter. Holidays are fast approaching. Serve it at your holiday gathering and watch how quickly compliments to the chef turn into great conversations filled with laughter and cheer. And here is a party favour idea: print this recipe for each of your guests, roll it up and secure it with some ribbon. Let each of your guests take one before they leave your house. Trust me, they will ask you for the recipe the next day. Now they won't have to.
3 salmon fillets,
1 fire roasted marinated red pepper (available in a jar),
2 tbsp. maple syrup,
1 tbsp. capers,
1/4 cup of blue cheese,
1/4 tsp. herbes de Provence,
Pinch of red pepper flakes,
A splash of lemon juice,
3 tbsp, crème fraiche (or sour cream).
Boil your salmon for 6 minutes and let it sit until cool enough to handle. Break it up into small pieces with your hands and set aside.
In the food processor combine the fire-roasted red pepper, maple syrup, blue cheese, capers. herbes du provence and crème fraiche. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and some lemon juice. Pulse until combined. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Empty the contents of the food processor into a bowl and add your shredded salmon. Mix and chill overnight. Check for the seasoning and serve with toasted baguette or crackers.