It verges on embarrassing how many of my recipes come from an effort to use up one ingredient. Not the same ingredient every time, of course, I mean it’s not like I have an King Kong-sized jar of mayo I’m trying to get through…
…but there’s always one thing or another calling out to me from the fridge or pantry, “Uuuuuuuuse meeeeee! Uuuuuuse me or you’ll have to throw me awaaaaaay! And then I will haunt your dreeeeeeeams!” It may be that foil-topped can of chipotle peppers in adobo, that half-used bunch of cilantro, or, in the case of today’s recipe, a vacuum-sealed package of smoked salmon I grabbed on impulse when I saw it on a really good sale. I love smoked salmon in appetizers, but in the absence of any upcoming parties or other good excuses for appetizers, what the heck do you do with a hunk of smoked salmon?
Well, I’ll tell you what you do! You scour the internet for ways to insert it into a weeknight dinner! ….except… dang, it’s hard to find dinner recipes involving smoked salmon. The internet’s offering of smoked salmon appetizers stretches from here to Mars, but I think I think I would have gotten about the same number of results if I had Googled “Q-tips for Dinner” as “Smoked Salmon Dinner.” As I mentioned in December, I’m not above serving my family a hodgepodge of canapés for our evening meal, but I really wanted something a little heartier.
So it’s a good thing to know that, when faced with a dearth of options, you can make a QUICHE out of just about anything. And quiche, in my book, is a perfectly acceptable dinner. In fact, the idea of a quiche with a potato crust has been calling my name for quite some time, so this smoked salmon version with a crispy potato crust that eventually surfaced from the internet sounded like the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. (Disclaimer: no birds were harmed in the making of this quiche.) The crispy, Cajun-spiced hashbrown crust turned out to be an excellent complement to the cooling flavors of salmon, cream cheese, dill, and leek …and a great way to use up smoked salmon, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
P.S. While we’re on the subject, here are some other dinner-y, non-appetizer-y ideas for using up a hunk of smoked salmon, in case you ever find yourself in a similar predicament:
- Smoked salmon fettucine alfredo
- Smoked salmon chowder
- Salad with spinach, smoked salmon, and other toppings like avocado and mandarin oranges
- Potato latkes topped with herbed cream cheese and smoked salmon
Smoked Salmon Quiche with Crispy Potato Crust
(Adapted from Food Network)
For the crust:
3 1/4 cups frozen hashbrowns, thawed (microwave at 30-second intervals until thawed)
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
For the filling:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. half and half
4 oz. smoked salmon, diced
2 Tbsp. fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tart pan or pie plate. In a medium bowl, mix thawed hashbrowns, melted butter, spices, and Parmesan until hashbrowns are evenly coated. Press into the bottom and sides of the prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes.
- When crust comes out of the oven, lower the heat to 350 degrees. Let cool on a wire rack.
- In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, lemon juice, and leek-garlic mixture. Add eggs one at a time, stirring between each addition, then add half and half, smoked salmon, dill, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Pour evenly into baked hashbrown shell and bake 30 minutes or until the center is set. Cool 20 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.