Smoked Fish Spread was the first thing that MaryJo and I would order when we got to a Florida restaurant when we were on vacation. That and a Corona!
Now that we are back in Minnesota, there are no places we know of that have smoked fish spread. You could probably go up to Duluth and find some. We have gotten really good smoked fish spread in Upper Michigan.
It seems like you have to be near a Great Lake or the ocean to find smoked fish spread. That’s a shame too. It is a wonderful appetizer that goes so well with that Corona, (or a glass of sauvignon blanc).
While at the grocery store the other day, I noticed that they had smoked whitefish. Whitefish is a common fish that is netted in the Great Lakes. I really prefer smoked saltwater fish, but this freshwater variety is not too bad.
So being in Minnesota, I’m missing the smoked fish spread of Florida. MaryJo and I have made this before and it is always a treat.
The smoked fish is whole and you start cleaning it by tearing off the skin which comes off pretty easily. You may have to cut the skin a little with a sharp knife to get it to start. The upper back of the fish contains small bones and should peel off easily. The rib bones are more touchy and care has to be taken to peel the flesh from the bone. Once all of the smoked fish is pulled from the bone, a second examination of the meat is needed. I do this by hand and tear the meat to make sure there are no stray bones.
The work is worth the effort because smoked fish spread is so good. This fish yielded 12 ounces of meat. I prepared an 8 ounce batch to make the recipe easy to duplicate which makes a little over two cups of fish spread.
Saltines and Cholula hot sauce finish off your appetizer.
Put this spread together and start a party.
Smoked Fish Spread
- 8 ounces smoked fish , picked of bones
- 2 tbsp celery , finely diced to minced
- 2 tbsp red pepper , finely diced
- 1 tbsp white onion , finely diced
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 tbsp Frank's hot sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 shakes or more Tabasco sauce
- pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and, using a fork, combine the ingredients and break down the smoked fish until the mixture is smooth. This will take up to 15 minutes time. Alternatively, use a stand or hand mixer to break down the fish until it is smooth.
- Serve with saltines and top with Cholula hot sauce.