When I was in college, I loved cooking dinner for my roommates and friends. I’m not ashamed to admit that my kitchen skills in those days were pretty firmly entrenched in specialties of the casserole variety. I grew up in the country, and you’d be surprised what’s possible when you combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream and Ritz crackers. My palette’s evolved a bit since then – or should I say, expanded, because that shit’s still delish – and my kitchen repertoire’s grown with it. I credit much of my initial foray into cuisine beyond one-dish dinners to a Christmas gift from my roommate Colleen: Better Homes & Gardens Prizewinning Recipes. My very first cookbook, which I’ve used so much since that pages are falling out and others are stuck together from various drips and spills. Among the many gems is a recipe for Smoked Salmon Cheesecake I’ve made so many times, I’ve lost count.
I usually make it for brunch, but it also makes a great appetizer. This version is adapted from the one in Better Homes & Gardens Prizewinning Recipes.
To make this in Argentina requires some adjustments. The most important note being, pleasefortheloveofgod DO NOT use those bagged breadcrumbs, aka pulverized cardboard. Like, ever. For anything. Make your own breadcrumbs. And while there’s an array of delicious cheeses available, I’ve had trouble tracking down Swiss, but gouda or mozzarella varieties work well. And no one here’s heard of evaporated milk, but you can make an inexpensive evaporated milk substitute using leche descremada en polvo (powdered milk).
SMOKED SALMON CHEESECAKE
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs (high quality or homemade is best)
2 Tablespoons margarine or butter, melted (add a bit more if the crumbs aren’t sticking together)
1 15-ounce carton of ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup evaporated fat free milk
4 ounces smoked salmon, finely flaked
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus additional for garnish
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
Sour cream (optional)
For the crust, combine the bread crumbs and melted margarine or butter in a small bowl. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch quiche dish. For the filling, in a large bowl use a fork to beat the eggs slightly. Stir in the ricotta and Swiss cheese, then the evaporated milk, salmon, dill, salt and white pepper. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center is nearly set when shaken. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve warm, topped with sour cream if you like.
The hardest part is flaking the salmon. How does one finely flake smoked salmon? I usually just end up roughly chopping it up. Any tips, please share!