Growing up, I was never a picky eater. I would try anything, graciously, and usually like it. Even if something didn’t seem appealing, I would still try it. It served me well and allowed me to taste and form opinions on every type of cuisine.
I remember having a friend in high school who was disgusted by the mere thought of sushi, and I was genuinely fascinated by her. How could someone living in Vancouver dislike sushi? If you grow up on the West Coast, it’s hard not to love it. There are sushi joints on every block, and fresh seafood is one of our main food groups. It’s accessible, it’s fresh, it’s delicious, and it’s (relatively) inexpensive.
I would nag her constantly about her reasoning, trying to get an answer that was acceptable to me. I was probably pretty pushy about it, but at the time I just HAD to know.
Her answer always related to texture. She just didn’t like the texture of seafood.
I’m older know and I can appreciate her reasoning. A large part about food, aside from the taste, is texture, so it makes sense that certain people might not like certain textures as much as it makes sense that certain people might not like certain flavours.
Personally, I’m not a fan of tripe (found in many pho restaurants), solely because I find the texture off-putting. It’s virtually taste-less, but the texture gives me the heebie jeebies.
But to lump all seafood into that group? I still have a hard time understanding it.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than to share how much I adore seafood of all kinds. Smoked salmon, especially, is one of my favourites. (Also, smoked salmon jerky, which can be found in our local markets and basically tastes like seafood crack.)
There are so many ways to enjoy seafood, and while there are some new and exciting ways to prepare it, there are some classic flavour pairings that stand the test of time.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese, for one. There’s something about the salty, smokey flavour of the fish paired with the creamy, smooth cheese that is to die for. It’s a flavour staple.
These little hand pies combine the classic duo with fresh cucumber and tangy dill. The result is a savoury snack that’s sure to satisfy.
Smoked salmon for flavour, salty and smoked.
Cream cheese for, well, creaminess.
Cucumber for crunch.
Fresh dill for a bit of tang.
All wrapped up in a flakey puff pastry.
This recipe yields six hand pies, but can definitely be scaled for a larger group. You could also make mini-hand pies, perhaps bite-sized, for a fun party appetizer. Whatever you do, you can’t go wrong with the flavour combo.
These are particularly good warm – when the cream cheese heats up it turns into a creamy, almost-sauce like filling without being too melty – but are also great cold. (Translation: the leftovers are goooood.)
|Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese & Cucumber Hand Pies with Fresh Dill|| |
- One 450 g package puff pastry sheets (2 sheets per pack), thawed
- ½ a package cream cheese (125g ), softened, sliced into 6 slices
- 150 g smoked salmon
- 18 cucumber slices
- Fresh dill, chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Roll out puff pastry sheets; keep the parchment paper they came in and use it to line a baking tray; set aside.
- Cut each pastry sheet into 6 equal rectangles. Place 6 of those rectangles onto the prepared baking tray, and baste with egg.
- Evenly top with smoked salmon, cucumber slices, cream cheese, and a generous sprinkle of fresh dill. Leave a ½-inch border around the edges.
- Lay the remaining 6 rectangles on top, stretching if necessary to make sure the filling is covered by puff pastry. Use a fork to press and seal the edges. Poke a few holes in the top, allowing for steam to escape, and baste generously with egg.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.