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 first course, we had the best smoked salmon appetizer I’ve ever tasted in my life — 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 smoked salmon 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 smoked salmon appetizer. It’s the perfect little bite.
And one more thing…this is the ideal appetizer to serve with champagne. Smoked salmon and champagne are a pairing made in heaven.
Easy Smoked Salmon Appetizer: Potato Bites
Modeled after my favorite appetizer from Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, this easy smoked salmon appetizer will be a hit at any party.
- 48 tater tots thawed
- 4 oz smoked salmon
- 1/2 lemon squeezed
- 2 tbsp sliced green onion
- 2 tbsp capers
- sour cream or plain greek yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees*
- Shred the smoked salmon with a fork.
- Combine the salmon in a bowl with lemon juice, green onion, and capers. Set aside.
- Lightly grease the cups of a mini muffin tin.
- Press two tater tots into each cup. This works best if you use a round spoon or another object to smush the tater tots into the tin.
- Bake according to package instructions, or until the tater tots are golden brown and crispy around the edges.
- Remove the tater tots from the oven, and use the spoon to push into the center of the cooked tater tots once again, creating a "cup" shape.
- Top each cup with the salmon mixture and a small dollop of sour cream or plain greek yogurt.
- Serve immediately.