Smoked-Salmon Cheesecake: The perfect mix of ingredientsPhoto:4011676,left; | NevadaAppeal.com

Smoked-Salmon Cheesecake: The perfect mix of ingredientsPhoto:4011676,left;

by Molly Gingell

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Molly Gingell's Smoked-Salmon Cheesecake. Instead of thinking of it as a cheesecake with all the dessert connotations, think of it as a mousse. That's what the texture is like, says Gingell, and the flavor from the salmon permeates every bite.

There are certain foods that are just made to go together. Cream cheese and smoked salmon, called lox, fall into that category.

But rather than being heavily heaped on a bagel, this cheesecake is so light, and the leeks and cheese add to the combination. Instead of thinking of it as a cheesecake with all the dessert connotations, think of it as a mousse.

That’s what the texture is like, and the flavor from the salmon permeates every bite.

This recipe is great for an appetizer, or for a first course for a light spring or summer lunch or dinner. I always garnish the smoked salmon cheesecake with diced red onions, capers and slices of lemon.

When I serve it as an appetizer, I serve it with what I call bagel bites. I use New York Style Plain Bagels cut into eight pieces each.

Brush them with garlic butter, and toast them in the oven until golden brown. They make a nice, different accompaniment for the Smoked Salmon Cheesecake.

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This is really a great recipe. I have used it hundreds of times.

Try it! If you love smoked salmon, you’ll love it. Easy and wonderful!

Cheesecake with Smoked Salmon

For the loaf pan:

1 tablespoon of butter

3 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

The cheesecake:

14 ounces cream cheese

2 eggs

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 cup chopped leeks, white part only

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 pound smoked salmon, cut into small dice

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (imported, not processed)

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Butter a loaf pan (12x3x4 inches) well. Mix the crumbs and cheese and sprinkle the pan until the sides and bottom are well covered. Turn the pan upside down over the sink and rap to shake out excess crumbs.

Let the cream cheese sit at room temperature for three hours to soften. Place the cream cheese, eggs and cream in a mixer bowl or in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Beat them until soft and fluffy.

Sauté the leeks in butter in an 8-inch skillet until they are soft and translucent, about five minutes. Fold the leeks into the cheese with mixed smoked salmon. Add the Parmesan, Gruyere and pepper. Add salt a little at a time, and taste, since smoked salmon varies in its saltiness.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pour the cheese mixture into the loaf pan and place the pan in a baking pan in the oven. Pour hot water into the baking pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake the loaf for one hour and 40 minutes, turn off the oven, and let it sit for an additional hour. Remove it from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for at least two hours before unfolding. Or prepare it a day in advance and reheat it in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes or until warm, but not hot, then unmold.

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