Moonstruck on the Bay Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
Russ and I have travelled extensively professionally and often for extended periods (making us less inclined to travel for pleasure these days) and while I almost never want to eat at the hotel for dinner (too many great restaurants out there)—I’m a sucker for breakfast in bed delivered on a white tablecloth draped cart!
Smoked salmon is one of life’s best indulgences and I never fail to order smoked salmon or lox, red onion, capers and cream cheese on bagels for breakfast when I find it on a menu! This recipe, however, gives me the opportunity to enjoy one of my all time favorites in a savory cheesecake!
I have developed several recipes over the years for savory cheesecakes that make our get togethers “Simply Entertaining” for my guests and for me. Served indoors or out—they are guaranteed to get you waterside (tailgating or fireside) with your guests with only a minimum amount of time spent in your kitchen!
1 cup finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 cup fine dry fresh bread crumbs—I use 2 toasted large bagels for this one and process them in a food processor until fine. (Smoked salmon, red onion and capers?—bagel bread crumbs just bring a smile to my face—but store bought plain will do just fine)
½ c. salted butter, melted
1 teas. onion powder
¼ teas. garlic salt
2 T. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)—more as needed for sauté
¾ cup (about 1 medium) red onion, sliced very thinly and then chopped into tiny dice
1½ teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal ONLY—different brands = different levels of saltiness so please be cautious if using another brand)
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt)
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (about 1 medium)
4 oz. goat cheese
3 8oz packages cream cheese
3 jumbo eggs
8 oz. “Eastern Shore Smoked Salmon”—partial to my smoked salmon recipe, of course, but any smoked salmon will work (avoid any black pepper versions)
1 cup (8 oz.) blue crab crabmeat—real only and as fresh as you can get it
1-3.5 oz jar of capers—juice and all
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat your oven to 350° and line the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and center a baking rack (that fits within the rims of the baking sheet) on top of the paper lining. (The oils from the cheesecake can drip and the rimmed baking sheet will prevent oven spills, the parchment paper ensures an easy cleanup and the baking rack ensures that the cheesecake has air circulation throughout it’s baking time).
In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, sauté diced red onion in EVOO until just heated through—1 to 2 minutes max. Season sautéed onions with salt and pepper and return to heat for an additional minute, then remove from heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat room temperature cream cheese, goat cheese, onion powder, garlic salt, lemon zest and fresh dill with an electric mixer until smooth. Add jumbo eggs—be careful to mix ONLY until just combined without overbeating.
Gently stir the onion mixture, smoked salmon, crabmeat, capers and heavy whipping cream into the cheese and egg mixture.
Pour the filling over the prepared breadcrumb crust in the springform pan. Place springform pan on baking rack on prepared baking sheet and place on the center rack in your preheated oven.
Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes total or until the center appears nearly set when you shake—like a thick pudding. It should quiver ever so slightly and that’s it. I usually set the timer for one hour—check—and then reset for an additional 15 minutes. If needed, go in additional five minute increments until done.
Remove from the oven and bring to room temperature—about 1 hour on a baking rack. Slide a thin knife all around the inside of the perimeter of the pan and remove the side of the springform pan. Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate—it will keep for 3 days in the fridge. I have found the flavor is always most fabulous if you bring a savory cheesecake back to room temperature before serving.
Serve with fresh cucumber chips (a great gluten free and diabetic-friendly alternative to breads or crackers), “So Simple Crostini’s” (always disappear first at my house—with guests waiting at the oven—directions follow), bagel chips—whatever you have onhand!
Sorry, no pretension of kosher here but a truly delicious way to celebrate one of my favorite indulgences—smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion and capers on bagels.
I will be posting several more of my savory cheesecake recipes in future posts—all perfect for waterside, tailgating and with a glass of wine in front of the fireplace (or fire pit)!
So Simple Crostini’s
2 or 3 good (translate: real!!!) freshly baked French baguettes (The quality of the baguette is key to the success of this recipe. Long, narrow—crispy outside, chewy inside—baguettes only, please! Big squishy, supermarket loaves will just burn and turn to powder…not a great basis for any toppings!)
2-4 T. of the best quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) that you can get your hands on. (“Lucini” is a great brand that is relatively easy to find.)
Freshly cracked sea salt
Put your oven on broil—high. Slice baguettes on the diagonal—a little more than about ¼ inch thick. Place baguette slices on a baking rack, drizzle liberally with EVOO and then freshly cracked salt. Broil for two minutes or until edges are JUST golden. Serve immediately. (Be prepared to repeat several times—preparing batches one right after another as your guests discover these!)