Smoked whitefish salad is a tasty change of pace from lox for a Shabbat brunch. It is easy to make ahead of time and goes especially well with some pickled red onions and homemade rye bread. If you want to go all out, you can also bake your own simple, slightly sourdough rye bread that you can make in one day.
This recipe is very forgiving, so go ahead and experiment a little until you find the combinations you like best. Start by buying a smoked whitefish filet. You know, one of those golden-brown smoked fish wrapped in plastic in the seafood/deli section. If you haven’t seen them, you can usually find them at Lunds or Cub in the fish section where they have smoked salmon chunks (which also work great in this recipe by the way). I know I always thought they looked a bit intimidating, but I finally decided to give it a try. It does take a bit of work to separate the fish from the bones, but it is well worth it.
The first time I made this I went to the fridge looking for mayonnaise, but we were all out. So I decided to make my own, and I think that worked out to be a good thing. It is quite easy to make your own and adds that impressiveness factor, but you can use store bought mayonnaise if you’re in a rush. I have used either vegetable oil or olive oil to make the mayo, and in this recipe I like the olive oil version better.
As far as the herbs, you can use any fresh herbs you like. With the whitefish I like to use parsley; it adds a nice fresh, slightly peppery taste. But if I make the same recipe using the smoked salmon chunks, I like to use dill. If the smoked flavors of the fish are a little much for you, you can reduce the smoked fish and add some regular canned tuna.
Smoked Whitefish Salad
- 1 whole smoked whitefish (about 1 pound)
- 1 stalk celery diced small
- ½ tsp dill OR 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- A small squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the mayo:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- ½ cup oil (either vegetable or olive oil)
Remove the skin from the fish and pull the meat away from the bones. Place the chunks of fish in a large bowl with the celery, herbs, and lemon juice. To make the mayo, whip the egg yolk and vinegar with a whisk until it lightens in color. Continue whisking while you slowly drizzle in the oil. Keep that whisk moving and it will thicken right up. Combine enough of the mayo with the fish mixture to bind it together (you may not need quite all of the mayo, unless you like it that way). Add salt and pepper to taste and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
(Save this recipe for Passover, too. It goes great with matzo!)