These salmon bites are a powerhouse of bright, fresh FLAVOR and sure to impress.
Here's how we build these fabulous little one-bite appetizers:
- A buttery chili-spiked cheddar cracker
- Garlic mayo
- Fresh cilantro
- An orange or grapefruit slice
- Crunchy Almond Salsa with Green Chiles
- Tender flakes of roasted (or smoked) salmon
Why This Recipe Works
Can we just stop and talk for a moment about ALL the flavors going on in these power packed salmon bite appetizers???
FIRST, there's a buttery, flakey, homemade cheddar cracker spiked with chili powder and a touch of cayenne. Some of you are tempted to stop reading right now, because you're thinking, "No way I'm making homemade crackers."
Just hold your horses.
All you need is about 15 minutes and a food processor to make homemade crackers. But you can, of course, just use a box of cheddar crackers. Honestly, you have a lot of options here, which we'll get to. They're your salmon bites, do as you like.
Fabulous little crackers aside, it's what's on these salmon bites that makes them so addicting: creamy garlic mayo, a couple of fresh cilantro leaves, and a thin, juicy slice of orange or grapefruit, crunchy almond salsa, and flakes of roasted or smoked salmon.
You might think it's impossible to pack so many layers of flavor into one bite. And, yet, here we go.
Ingredients Needed to Prepare this Recipe
- Chili-Spiked Cheddar Crackers require nothing more than flour, cheddar cheese, butter, sugar, salt, and chili powder. Or, pick up a box of your favorite cheese crackers. Just make sure they're big and sturdy enough to hold all the toppings.
- Almond Salsa is one of the most unique and delicious chili salsas I've ever eaten. The salsa includes so many flavors that compliment citrus and salmon: toasted almonds, jalapeños and green chiles, and the warm, fragrant spices of coriander, fennel, and ginger.
- Salmon fillet, OR cedar planked salmon, OR smoked salmon: Most supermarkets will have salmon fillets in various sizes. You want about 2 pounds of fresh salmon for this recipe. Some supermarkets will also carry cedar planked salmon. I love this option because all you have to do is unwrap the salmon and pop it in the oven, cedar plank and all. Or, you can use smoked salmon. Smoked salmon has a much stronger flavor than roasted, so you'll need about half as much, about 1 pound.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 6 cloves of garlic
- One small bunch of fresh cilantro
- 3 oranges or 2 grapefruits. If you can find them, Cara Cara oranges are my favorite citrus fruit to use in these salmon bites. But, any variety of orange or grapefruit is delicious in here.
How to Make These Salmon Bites
Step #1: Make the Crackers
The chili-spiked cheese crackers in this recipe is a version of these Homemade Cheese Crackers from my alter ego, Of Batter and Dough.
You make the dough in a food processor, then wrap it up and let it chill out in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so before rolling it out and using a biscuit cutter to cut out the crackers.
Put the crackers on a baking sheet and bake them for about 15 minutes then do your best to not eat them all before you have a chance to build these salmon bites.
Step #2: Make the almond salsa
This chunky, crunchy Almond Salsa with Green Chiles is seriously one of my favorite things. The salsa takes about 15 minutes to make and includes toasted almonds, jalapeños and green chiles, and the warm, fragrant spices of coriander, fennel, and ginger.
Needless to say, all those flavors are a PERFECT match for citrus and salmon so topping these little salmon bites with a dollop of salsa was a no brainer.
Want a salad version of these salmon appetizers? This Salmon Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Almond Salsa contains many of the same flavors of these salmon bites in salad form.
Step #3: Bake the salmon
If you're using smoked salmon, you can of course skip this step altogether. If you're using salmon fillets, here's what you do:
Set your oven to bake at 450° F (176° C) and let it heat to that temperature before baking the salmon.
If using a large salmon fillet, cut it into 2 - 4 pieces. If using a cedar plank fillet, there is no need to cut it.
Sprinkle the salmon with a bit of salt and pepper, then set it skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet or in a baking dish or pie plate (or leave it on its cedar plank). Bake the salmon for about 12 to 15 minutes, until it is cooked through.
To know if the salmon is done cooking, use an instant read thermometer to register the internal temperature of the thickest part of one of the salmon pieces. Salmon is done cooking when it reaches 125° - 145° F (52° - 62° C).
Remove the salmon from the oven and let it rest until it's cool enough to handle.
*See seafood safety information below for more information about the ideal temperature of cooked salmon.
Tip! Cedar planked salmon is available in many major supermarkets and makes cooking a perfect salmon fillet a cinch. For these appetizers, I used their Applewood Salmon with Orange and Ginger variety. But, any variety will work.
Step #4: Assemble the Salmon Bites
Lay the crackers out on a serving platter, give them all a schemer of garlic mayonnaise and then lay a leaf or two of fresh cilantro over the mayo.
Top the crackers with a slice of orange or grapefruit...
Spoon on a bit of almond salsa...
And top the whole thing with a few pieces of salmon.
Honestly, the most difficult thing about making these is having the patience to stack each one into lovely little towers without just piling everything on a plate and eating it all yourself. (Not that I've done this.)
Food Safety Tips for Seafood
- The USDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 °F (62.7 °C). However, many people feel that temperature results in overcooked salmon and a better temperature to aim for is 125 °F (52 °C). The temperature of salmon will continue to rise after it's removed from the heat, so use your best judgment.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw seafood.
- Always wash your hands after touching raw seafood.
- Salmon should be discarded if left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature. Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F.
- Cooked salmon should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking.
More Popular Appetizer and Small Bite Recipes:
- Coconut Corn Fritters with Chipotle Cilantro Sauce
- Spanish Avocado Salmon Bites
- Caramelized Celery Root Wonton Cups with Date BBQ Sauce and Chili Oil
- Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Spicy Cranberry Relish
- Cheese, Bacon, Date, and Chipotle Turnovers
- Cheesy Sloppy Joe Egg Rolls
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
For the crackers:
- 4 oz. (1½ cups) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 oz. (1 stick or ½ cup) of butter, cut into cubes
- 1–2 tablespoon ice water
To assemble the Salmon Appetizers:
- 1 recipe Almond Salsa with Green Chiles
- 2 pounds (32 ounces) salmon fillet, OR 1 pound (16 ounces) smoked salmon
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- one small bunch of fresh cilantro
To Make the Crackers:
- Add the flour, sugar, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cayenne to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse a couple of times to combine all the ingredients.
- Add the cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. Add the butter all at once, and pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Sprinkle in the water, and pulse a few more times, just until the mixture starts to look like dough. (It the dough is still quite dry, sprinkle in another teaspoon or two of water.)
- Dump the dough – which will be a bit crumbly – into a large bowl or onto a clean work surface. Press the dough together and knead a few times with your hands to bring the dough together. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 1 day.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and have at the ready: a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, a 1 ½-inch biscuit cutter or sharp knife or pastry wheel, a cup of flour, a large flat spatula, and a rolling pin.
- Sprinkle some flour across a clean works surface. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and lay it on the work surface. Dust the top with a sprinkling of flour. Roll the dough into a thin sheet, approximately ⅛ inch thick. (NOTE: If the dough has been in the refrigerator for several hours, you’ll probably have to let it soften on the counter for 10 – 15 minutes to let the butter soften before rolling out.)
- Run the spatula underneath the dough from all sides to loosen any dough that’s stuck to the work surface. Cut out the crackers with the biscuit cutter and lay them on the baking sheet very close together, but not touching. (You can also cut the crackers into squares with a knife or pastry wheel.)
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the edges of the crackers are golden brown. Remove from the oven onto a wire rack and allow the crackers to cool completely on the sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
To roast the salmon and assemble the appetizers:
- If you haven't already, make a batch of Almond Salsa with Green Chiles. (You can also make this salsa while the salmon is roasting in the oven.)
- If you're using smoked salmon, there's nothing you need to do except remove it from its packaging.
- To roast a fresh salmon fillet: Heat the oven to 450° F (176° C).
Cut the salmon into 2 - 4 pieces. (If using a cedar planked salmon there is no need to cut it.)
- Sprinkle the salmon with a bit of salt and pepper. Then, place salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet or in a baking dish or pie plate.
- Bake the salmon until it is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. To know if the salmon is done cooking, use an instant read thermometer to register the internal temperature of the thickest part of one of the salmon pieces. Salmon is done cooking when it reaches an internal temperature of 125° - 145° F (52° - 62° C). *See note below about the ideal temperature of salmon.
- Remove the salmon from the oven and let it rest until it's cool enough to handle.
- Add the garlic and mayonnaise to a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Lay the crackers out on a serving platter and top each with a generous ½ teaspoon of mayonnaise. Lay a couple of cilantro leaves over the mayonnaise.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the peel and pith from the oranges or grapefruits. Separate the sections, and slice each section in half length wise, then in half crosswise, so that you have thin slices that are about the same size as the crackers. Lay one slice of citrus fruit over the cilantro on each of the crackers.
- Top each orange slice with about 1 teaspoon of almond salsa and a few flakes of salmon.
These little appetizers can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead of time if kept covered in the refrigerator.
What's the ideal internal temperature of cooked salmon?
The USDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 °F (62.7 °C). However, many people feel that temperature results in overcooked salmon and a better temperature to aim for is 125 °F (52 °C). The temperature of salmon will continue to rise after it's removed from the heat, so use your best judgment.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g