Smoked Salmon Spread for your Christmas Eve buffet

One of our special Christmas treats since moving to the Northwest and one which has become a solid Christmas tradition is smoked salmon spread.

There are numerous places to buy smoked salmon fillets in the Columbia Gorge. It is also easy to buy fresh salmon from the local Native Americans who fish for it daily and smoke it yourself if you happen to have a smoker. I know of other friends who travel to Alaska often and bring their own fresh salmon back to Oregon and smoke it. (Oregon is Alaska's back door didn't you know?)

I have found a place near the Columbia River that sells smoked salmon at a very reasonable price and we buy a lot at Christmastime. In addition to delicious smoked salmon spread, I will use it for smoked salmon manicotti on Christmas Eve and smoked salmon chowder on New Year's Eve.

Here is our very easy recipe for smoked salmon spread:

One pound cream cheese (two 8 ounce packages)
the juice of one small lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped onion or scallions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
6 to 8 ounces of smoked salmon fillet, skin removed

Beat all ingredients in a mixer until well blended and until the salmon is broken into bits and incorporated. You can use more or less of any of these ingredients to your own personal taste and budget.

This spread tastes best made a day ahead of serving so the flavors have time to meld together.