Delicate Smoked Fish Dip with Charred Leeks and Capers

Making smoked fish dip-A Stack of Dishes

Looking for a smokey dip that doesn’t include bacon? I can’t say it’s an equal exchange, because really- what is?, but this smoked fish dip has great flavor in a light and delicate base, which makes it easy to indulge in.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of smoked fish, and not just salmon. I grew up by the sea, and many of my school chums had families that fished those local waters (many of the others farmed the fields we drove past every day). Though I grew up on Long Island, it was far enough eastward to not have those glorious Jewish delis with their smoked sable and whitefish. Instead there was a guy, who is the son of a guy, who had been smoking his over-catch in his garage for decades.


Mixing the Smoked Fish Dip- A Stack of Dishes

The fishes that are best for capturing and infusing the flavor have the most fat, which is why salmon is such a favorite. My preferred fish is Bluefish. It was a bit of a bastard fish as a kid. Fresh it is grey in color, super oily, and it has a pretty decent fishy smell when cooked. Quite the opposite from say something like flounder or sole, which is virginal white, delicate and light- the princesses in the fish world. Bluefish, when smoked, is just so moist and buttery in texture. It can easily be mashed onto a cracker, no little annoying bones like trout, and a fraction of the cost of salmon.

Slicing leeks to be charred- A Stack of Dishes

The natural oiliness in the fish is not only the healthiest of fats you can eat, but it also means that when incorporating this fish into your recipes it becomes the flavor carrier. Most dips and spreads at a gathering are super fat bombs. One or two tablespoons can knock your diet socks right off- and who has just a tablespoon or two? I love them, I really do, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be enjoyed, it’s just so super wonderful when you can enjoy something rich tasting and not have your liver end up in crisis.

I made a delicate base with a little creaminess to give it some body. To add another layer of flavor I long sauteed some leeks until they get a deep golden brown and a bit of a char. A little container of charred leeks in my fridge is one of my secret weapons. Again, no one will mistake it for bacon, but it adds that smokey umami layer to say your breakfast eggs, or a cheese sandwich, that is surprising and unexpected.

Smoked Fish dip with Charred Leeks and Capers- A Stack of Dishes


Delicate Smoked Fish Dip with Charred Leeks and Capers

1 cup flaked smoked fish- I used whitefish here, but any type will do

2/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt

1/3 cup neufchatel cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon horseradish

1/4 cup sliced leeks, slow cooked until golden and charred

1 tablespoon capers

1 tablespoon caper juice

salt and white pepper to taste


Using your fingers to feel out any small bones, flake the fish into small pieces into a large bowl. I like to give my dips a little texture, or you can break the fish down into a fine consistency. Add the yogurt, neufchatel, horseradish and little salt and white pepper and mix to combine. Place the dip into a nice serving bowl. Spoon the capers, juice and leeks on the top and serve.

I recommend making this an hour or two before serving to allow the flavors to infuse.