Once a luxury product, smoked salmon is now a mainstay of supermarket chiller counters and UK dinner tables. From thrifty trimmings weaved into scrambled eggs, to versions flavoured with herbs, beetroot, whisky and more, there are products to suit most budgets and tastes. We're big fans of enjoying it in generous slices with a dot of horseradish atop a traditional oatcake, but it's a great ingredient for cooking, too – the deeply savoury flavour imparts with stealth, meaning a little goes a very long way.
Whether you're looking for a Christmas dinner starter, Scandi-style side or hearty main, we've got plenty of ideas for serving smoked salmon below. Also, check out our collection of smoked salmon recipes for more inspiration and read our guide on the health benefits of smoked salmon.
How to make gravadlax
While high-quality slices of smoked salmon are easily available from supermarkets and fishmongers, you can make a really similar cured variety at home with our easy gravadlax recipe. It's not as hard as it sounds and you don't need to own a smoke shack in the Outer Hebrides to get an authentic finish. Also view our video above for steps on how to prepare and flavour gravadlax.
You'll need the freshest salmon fillet you can buy, then the method is to cure (so strictly speaking it's not smoked) over two days in a brine. Don't be scared of the fact you don't cook the fish over heat – the saltwater infuses the raw flesh and makes it edible.
Matt Tebbutt adds spices to his sherry and anise-tinged version, while our food editor Barney adds a splash of vibrant purple by marinating his salmon in beetroot. Gordon Ramsay, meanwhile, takes a Scandinavian approach and cures his salmon with dill to make gravadlax.
Our favourite ways with smoked salmon
Treat yourself to a deliciously decadent midweek meal with our smoked salmon risotto. This simple dish oozes sophistication. The zesty lemon cuts through the creamy mascarpone base to create a perfectly balanced dish. We guarantee it'll become a weekly favourite.
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For another easy rice dish, try our smoked salmon kedgeree, which makes a delicious brunch.
If you've not tried salmon with eggs, we recommend you do so soon. Go for this delicious scramble for breakfast. It's guaranteed empty plates – who could resist mopping up buttery eggs with a Tabasco kick with a second helping of hot toast? Or, enjoy smoked salmon with coddled eggs, capers and gruyère cheese for an indulgent starter or brunch.
Smoked salmon makes a delicious topping for scones, especially when paired with soft cheese like in our seeded bagel-inspired recipe. You can enjoy them with warm fried potato scones for a hearty brunch or try our recipe for mini potato cakes topped with smoked salmon and caper berries for a festive canapé.
Seedy scones with smoked salmon
Potato scones with smoked salmon & soured cream
Potato cakes with smoked salmon & cream cheese
Black treacle & oat soda bread with pickled cucumbers, smoked salmon & homemade butter
Blitzing smoked salmon into a creamy pâté allows for use of thrifty fish trimmings. As unglamorous as they sound, they are a lot cheaper than traditional slices and nobody will tell the difference once cut up really small. We love serving smoked salmon paté with golden, butter-laden tear-and-share brioche buns as part of a grazing platter.
As much as this beautiful fish deserves to take centre stage, it also works well dotted into spectacular side dishes. A smoked salmon potato bake is perfect for dinner parties or something a little different for Sunday dinner.
There are infinite opportunities to use smoked salmon in the wonderful world of canapés. The classic option is to serve a slice of the fish on a pancake or blini, but try it out in homemade sushi, in tortilla rolls with cream cheese, or on toasted crostini too.
Potted fish is a vastly underrated starter, traditionally made with crab, shrimps or mackerel. But a mix of both smoked and fresh salmon works a treat. Mary Cadogan's version is a little like a paté in that the fish is flaked until fine and it's spreadable. Pour the melted butter and lemon over the salmon and leave to set until a bright yellow hard layer has formed over the top. Divine!
Bake an indulgent tart combining smoked salmon with dill and cream, and experiment with a few capers and some sliced red onion. Serve with crispy salad and flavoured crème fraÎche and try adding wholegrain mustard, horseradish or lemon juice and black pepper.
Try adding smoked salmon to soup and achieve a finish similar to traditional Scottish cullen skink. Add your fish to a leek and potato base right at the end of cooking, so it retains its texture but impart that salty, smoked flavour.
If you've not quite managed to make your way through a whole pack, use up those last few slices in a pasta dish. There are tons of ways to serve it, but typically it works well with lemon, crème frâiche and with light herbs like basil or dill. You could also try it in place of bacon in a carbonara.
We've got lots more smoked salmon recipes, or share your own. Leave a comment below...