This is the amalgamation of so many different ideas, I am not sure how to explain how I ended up with this on my dinner plate. Here goes: I had broccoli to use, lovely, fresh, farmers’ market broccoli. I was craving cream of broccoli soup. I wanted to use lox in a way that wasn’t a bagel with lox. I had dill and wanted that to be with the lox and also with the broccoli. I was homesick for Maine and craving comfort food. I wanted to cook something new and different.
I guess you would call this creamy broccoli a side dish, though the way I imagined and served it was as a sauce to go over potatoes. The whole dish is a jumbling together of various recipes with the Scandinavian flavors I love so much– it reminds me of the salmon loaf my Nana and Aunt Elaine used to make, of the gravy from Swedish meatballs that must go over boiled or roasted potatoes. It is an incredibly homey, comforting, nostalgia food-style dish and I am really looking forward to making it again. If you don’t have broccoli, you could use green beans, asparagus or peas with equally delicious results. You could also leave out the vegetables and make a nice smoked salmon sauce to serve with potatoes. If you don’t want potatoes, use the sauce with pasta, egg noodles or barley; this is a direction I was going in at one point until I remembered the buttery new potatoes I had in my ‘tater drawer. (Yes, I have a ‘tater drawer, which is also the onion drawer.) And, for you creative folks, I think this recipe is a few cups of milk short of a really delicious soup; add in your potatoes and you might have a salmon chowder.
So there you have it, a comforting dish with so many variation possibilities. There is a reason why these flavors are classic, a reason why tossing them together with a little bit of thought and a pinch of creativity resulted in something delicious. I hope you will try the recipe and see for yourself– Ät gott!
Creamy Broccoli with Smoked Salmon & Dill
- 1 large bunch of broccoli (about 4 – 5 c.), crown cut into bite-size florets, stem peeled and diced
- 3 T. butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 T. flour
- 1 1/2 c. whole milk (or cream)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 T. lemon zest
- 2 T. fresh dill, chopped
- 2 – 4 oz. smoked salmon, cut or broken into bite-sized pieces
- cooked potatoes, pasta, egg noodles or barley to serve
Heat water in a large saucepan and boil or steam the broccoli for 5-10 mins., depending on your preference for crunchy vs. soft vegetables. Drain and set aside.
In a separate large skillet or saucepan, melt the butter and cook the shallot over medium heat, sweating it rather than browning, for 3-4 mins., until it softens and becomes fragrant. Add the flour to the pan and stir to make a paste; cook for 1-2 mins. so the flour doesn’t taste raw. Season with salt & pepper and then whisk in the milk. You may need to raise the heat slightly; continue whisking slowly over the heat until your sauce thickens. Lower the heat and add the lemon zest and dill, then slowly fold in the smoked salmon. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Gently stir in the cooked broccoli and warm through. Serve over or alongside cooked potatoes, barley, etc.