Party guests are predictably inconsistent about hors d’oeuvres. They will wolf down pigs in a blanket by the handful, but huffily wave away feta on endive or a mushroom mini-quiche as too fattening. After years of torturing myself—and friends—with a labored, gelatin-based salmon mousse that never tasted as good as Korean-deli tuna salad, I learned my lesson. People are lazy and go for, if not pigs in a blanket, something that’s easy to eat in one bite and looks low-fat but is not too fussy. Also, they crave salt.
Enter the smoked-salmon canapé, which favors a Weight Watchers–ish approach and substitutes yogurt for mayonnaise or cream cheese, and takes a minute to make in a food processor. I tell friends that it is saumon à la voyeur de poids, and they never turn it down.
It’s a forgiving recipe, so measurements are not exact. Take a big handful of smoked salmon, or better, salmon ends, and plop in the food processor. Add some chopped onion or shallot, a big spoonful or two of plain Greek yogurt, a dash of horseradish cream, a pinch of red pepper, the juice of half a lemon, lots of fresh dill, and, if you like them, capers, and blend until combined but not puréed: red specks of salmon should glint through. Add lemon juice to taste.
Serve on small rounds of pumpernickel bread or in phyllo cups or Siljans shells or any pre-made mini-cups that don’t need to be warmed up; just stuff and serve.
For a holiday party, the salmon canapé is easy, fast, and, I think, delicious—and unlike pigs in a blanket, it doesn’t require heating or ketchup and mustard. Or napkins, really. And the salmon mixture can be made a day in advance. —Alessandra Stanley