This easy smoked salmon appetizer recipe is so elegant and delicious, no one will ever guess how simple it was to make (unless you tell them, of course) 🙂
Years ago, my husband and I had a fancy anniversary dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s “Spago” restaurant in Las Vegas. For our appetizer, we had crispy potato cakes topped with a mixture of smoked salmon, capers, and green onion, and then drizzled with sour cream. The crispy/tender potato & salmon combination, combined with the tart/salty/lemony flavors were just heaven in my mouth. For days afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking about or talking about how perfectly delicious that appetizer had been. I couldn’t even remember what I’d eaten for my entree!
I finally decided to try and recreate the appetizer at home. And I did a really good job! But it took a loooong time. The smoked salmon part was pretty easy, but I had to peel and shred potatoes, form them into patties, and then fry them in oil on the stovetop until they were perfectly crisp (but not burnt). Back then, I had time to do those types of things…we didn’t have kids yet, and I worked a 9-5 job, so playing around in the kitchen was fun and do-able.
Now, I have less time to devote to elaborate appetizers, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love amazing food! So I sought out a way to make my favorite appetizer in a simple way.
Enter TATER TOTS!
Tater tots make the perfect swap in this recipe because they produce the same salty/crunchy/potato-y texture, but there’s much less effort involved.
All you need to do is press some thawed tater tots into a mini muffin tin, create an impression using a rounded spoon (see photos), and bake until crisp.
You’ll end up with salty and crunchy potato cakes that are just as delectable as Wolfgang’s without the work. Side note: If you don’t have a rounded tablespoon like mine, I’m sure you can get creative and find something around the house that will work just as well…just make sure it’s clean! 🙂
You just top the tater tot cups with a mixture of smoked salmon, lemon juice, green onion, and capers, and then drizzle with a bit of sour cream or plain greek yogurt. This last part is optional, but I love how the tart & creamy sour cream rounds out the flavor and texture of this appetizer. It’s the perfect little bite.
And one more thing…this is the ideal appetizer to serve with champagne. 🙂 Just sayin.’