Smoked Fish Dip Recipe
To make this dip perfect, be generous with the seasonings. When ready, transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Serve with grilled bread, plantain chips, or your favorite crackers.
8 Ounces smoked snapper (see below) or other smoked fish
8 Ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Tbsp dark rum
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallion greens
1 Tsp freshly grated lemon zest
¼ Tsp ground allspice
Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
For the smoked snapper:
1 ½ Pounds fresh snapper or other fish fillets
For the brine:
¼ Cup brown sugar
¼ Cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
1 Tbsp cracked black pepper corns
3 Allspice berries
1 Cinnamon stick
2 Quarts water
½ Cup dark rum
Bradley Flavor Bisquettes - apple
Run your fingers over the fish fillets, feeling for bones. Pull out any you find with kitchen tweezers. Trim off any dark portions from the skin side of the fillets using a sharp knife. (This is where the “fishy” flavor resides).
Place the brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and water in a large deep bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the fish, cover with plastic wrap, and brine in the refrigerator for 8 hours, turning several times.
Drain the fish in a colander and discard the brine. Rinse well under cold running water, drain, and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange the fish on one of the Bradley wire racks (oil it first) and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Let the snapper air-dry in the refrigerator until the surface feels tacky (1 hour).
Set up the Bradley Smoker and preheat to 250°F. I like to smoke the fish with Apple Flavor Bisquettes. Smoke the snapper on its wire rack until bronzed with smoke and cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes. To test for doneness, press it with your finger; the flesh should break into clean flakes. Alternatively, insert the probe of an instant-read thermometer through one end of the fish into the center. The internal temperature should be about 140°F.
Transfer the snapper on its rack to a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature. Then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. It will keep for at least 3 days in the refrigerator.
Flake the smoked snapper into a food processor, discarding any skin or bones.
Coarsely or finely chopped (your choice) by running the food processor in short bursts. Add the cream cheese, rum, scallions, lemon zest, allspice, and salt and pepper to taste; pulse to blend. This dip should be highly seasoned.
Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Serve with grilled bread, plantain chips, or your favorite crackers. Serves 6 to 8 as a starter.
Recipe by: Steven Raichlen
Photo courtesy of Richard Dallett