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Salmon is a fish with high fat content and smoked salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. In North America, smoked salmon is likely to be sliced very thinly and served on bread with cream cheese or with sliced red onion, lemon and capers. In Pacific Northwest cuisine of the United States and Canada, smoked salmon may also be fillets or nuggets, including hickory or alder-smoked varieties and candied salmon (smoked and honey or sugar-glazed, also known as "Indian candy").

Smoking is used to preserve salmon against spoilage. During the smoking process, the salmon is cured and partially dehydrated. Smoked salmon has been featured in the cultures of Native Americans for a long time. Smoked salmon was also a common dish in Greek and Roman culture throughout history, often being eaten at large gatherings and celebrations. During the Middle Ages, smoked salmon became part of people’s diet and was consumed in soups and salads. The 19th century marked the rise of the American smoked salmon industry in the West Coast, processing Pacific salmon from Alaska and Oregon.

Enjoy this festive fare during the Easter season with a local pinot noir.

Smoked Salmon Salad

1/4 c. olive oil

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

6 c. arugula or baby greens

Salt and pepper to taste

6 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon

2 Tbsp. drained capers

2 stalks celery, sliced

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

16 red cherry tomatoes

16 yellow pear or cherry tomatoes

Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl to blend well. Place greens in large bowl and toss with ¼ cup oil; reserve the remaining 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper, and then divide greens among 4 plates. Arrange smoked salmon slices over greens on each plate, dividing equally. Sprinkle salmon with capers. Garnish salads with celery, red onion and red and yellow tomatoes. Drizzle remaining dressing over vegetables.

Or you can try setting up a buffet bar with the following ingredients served on thin bagels:

Smoked Salmon Bar

Smoked Salmon

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Sour cream

Shredded hard-boiled eggs

Cherry tomatoes

Thin-sliced red onions


Pair this smoked salmon feast with Ken Brown’s new release: 2015 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. This wine showcases some of the finest pinot noir vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County. The backbone of the wine is pinot noir from Rancho la Viña Vineyard, situated in the cool and breezy southwest part of the appellation.

This wine is charming and bright with aromas of black cherry, Santa Rosa plum and pomegranate accented by a subtle earth tones and native flora, such as lavender and sage. On the palate, a solid core of rich pinot noir expression is surrounded by hints of dark cherry and black tea. Well-balanced, velvety tannins give way to a bright, appealing finish.


John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at