The rich, distinctive taste of smoked salmon lends itself well to many combinations of flavors; it can be mixed with cheeses, herbs, vegetables, or caviar to make a wide variety of elegant appetizers or finger foods. Because smoked salmon pairs well with different ingredients, when serving smoked salmon to guests, you may serve a variety of different possible pairings and allow your guests to create their own combinations. Before serving cold smoked salmon, let the salmon sit at room temperature for no more than a half-hour to allow it to warm up slightly, enhancing its flavor and texture.
Bread and Cheese
One of the most popular pairings of smoked salmon is with bread and cream cheese. Serve slices of smoked salmon alongside bagels, melba toast, pumpernickel, and/or rye breads. Offer thin slices of red onion, lemon wedges, and capers as garnishes. You can also serve other types of soft cheeses instead of cream cheese, such as gruyere or goat cheese.
Smoked salmon tastes delicious when served with thin slices vegetables. Fan the salmon out on a plate with melba toast points, lemon wedges, and thin slices of cucumbers, radishes, grilled zucchini, eggplant, or yellow squash. This combination imparts a clean taste and allows you to really taste the delicate flavors of the fish. Dill and parsley are excellent garnishes to any combination of smoked salmon and vegetables.
As an appetizer, caviar and smoked salmon is an unparalleled pairing. Roll up slices of smoked salmon and serve atop crostinis, little blinis, or potato pancakes. Top with sour cream or creme fraiche and a little bit of caviar for a gourmet treat.
Serve smoked salmon with an interesting twist by pairing it with avocado slices and balsamic dressing -- the saltiness of the salmon, smooth creaminess of the avocado, and the vinegar of the dressing complement each other beautifully. Slice three avocados and fan them out on a plate. Lay thin strips of salmon over the avocado and drizzle a dressing of balsamic vinegar, sugar, and black pepper over the the salmon and avocado. Sprinkle chives on top and serve.