Homemade cheddar crackers are topped with garlic mayonnaise, fresh cilantro, orange slices, almond chili salsa and tender flakes of Cedar Roasted Applewood Salmon with Orange and Ginger. Each little one-bite appetizer is a powerhouse of bright, fresh FLAVOR and sure to impress.
*This recipe makes about 60 one-bite appetizers. In my experience, most people will eat somewhere between 3 and 6, so plan accordingly. The recipe can also be easily cut in half, if desired. Any extra crackers will keep well in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.
For the crackers:
- 4 oz. (1½ cups) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 oz. (1 stick or 1/2 cup) of butter, cut into cubes
- 1–2 tbsp ice water
For the Almond Chili Salsa:
- 4 poblano peppers
- 1 & 1/2 cups almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1–2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed, minced (Use one or two, depending on how spicy your peppers are and how spicy you want your salsa to be.)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or very finely minced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 & 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (to taste)
To assemble the Salmon Appetizers:
- 1 Cedar Bay Applewood Salmon Fillet with Orange and Ginger, defrosted according to package instructions
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- one small bunch of fresh cilantro
- 3 oranges (if you can find them, Cara Cara oranges are my preference)
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 1/2-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 1/8 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.
Make the Almond Salsa:
- Set an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lay the poblano peppers on the sheet.
- Put the peppers in the oven (they should be roughly 4-inches away from the heating element) and broil until the skin is about 90% blackened. Use tongs to flip the peppers over and broil until blackened on the other side.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel the blackened skin from the peppers and remove the stem and seeds. Chop the peppers into small pieces.
- Add the chopped almonds and olive oil to a skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the almonds begin to smell toasty and are turning a rich golden brown. (*Watch carefully so they don’t burn.)
- Add the minced jalapeño, ginger, coriander, fennel, sesame seeds, salt and pepper to the skillet with the almonds and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the vinegar and chopped poblano peppers. Scrape the salsa into a bowl and let cool to room temperature, then stir in the fresh cilantro, adding as much or as little as you like. Taste the salsa and add more salt and pepper if desired.
To assemble the appetizers:
- Remove the salmon from the packaging, leaving it on the cedar plank. Sprinkle the surface with a generous amount of salt. Follow the package instructions to bake or grill the salmon. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- 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 1/2 tsp of mayonnaise. Lay a couple of cilantro leaves over the mayonnaise.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the peel and pith from the oranges. Separate the orange 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 orange over the cilantro on each of the crackers.
- Top each orange slice with about 1 tsp 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.