It’s that time of year when we're all looking for new recipes to try and Irish party appetizers or snacks are a great choice. Salmon and cucumber bites are tasty nibbles and impressive savory treats for entertaining.
This Irish smoked salmon recipe brings a taste of Ireland to your home, no matter where you might be. I recommend Irish fish for this smoked salmon appetizer since Irish smoked salmon has a distinctive flavor.
Table of Contents
- Smoked Salmon in Irish Recipes and Cooking
- Irish Finger Foods Made With Cocktail Sticks
- Ingredients and Equipment
- Directions for Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites
- Tips for assembling kebab style cucumber appetizers
- Recipe Card for Salmon and Cucumber Bites
Smoked Salmon in Irish Recipes and Cooking
Smoked salmon is a traditional Irish ingredient, which gives these finger foods an authentic flavor.
Smoked salmon is readily available all over Ireland and is surprisingly less expensive than in American grocery stores. It boasts a deliciously smokey flavor and frequently appears on Irish restaurant menus, especially as part of a scrumptious Irish appetizer.
Wild Irish salmon is harvested along the Irish coastline. Smoking fish is an age old skill passed down through generations in Ireland.
The salmon is cured using a special salting process. Bacteria in the fish are eliminated, taste is added, and the shelf life of the fish is extended.
Salting the salmon fillets takes upto five hours, with dry sea salt doing all the work. The salt is completely washed off the fish after curing. The final smoked salmon has a low sodium count, so it retains its nutrition profile.
The fillets of salmon are then dried in a kiln, before the salmon is finely smoked. The smokehouse is key to successful smoked salmon. Fine oak chippings are often used to create the smoke.
A cold smoking method is the traditional salmon smoking method used in Ireland. Heat is never directly applied to the smoking salmon. Gentle cooking for up to 15 hours creates a moist, delicious fish with a distinctive hint of smoke.
Irish smoked salmon is available for purchase online from Food Ireland.
Irish smoked salmon is some of the best available world wide.
Smoked Salmon is also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body as well as lower cholesterol levels.
Irish Finger Foods Made With Cocktail Sticks
When you think of traditional Irish dishes for Patrick’s Day, appetizers do not always come to mind. Corned beef and cabbage always take the number one spot. Irish stew, Irish soda bread, and mash potatoes also spring to mind.
However, I like to feature a more extensive array of Irish food and cooking recipes, and these cucumber slices with smoked salmon bites truly fit that bill.
Kebab style appetizers with smoked salmon and cucumber are Irish party food and Saint Patrick’s Day appetizers at their finest.
This is one of my tried and tested no-bake recipes, highlighting traditional Irish foods. These little bites are so simple they work every time. This Irish smoked salmon recipe is an impressive choice for entertaining.
These smoked salmon and cucumber bites with radish slices and horseradish cream cheese are served with cocktail sticks. They're perfect when served on a platter so you can pass them around at your next gathering or get together.
Who doesn’t love cocktail stick appetizers? Whatever you call these little sticks, appetizer sticks or cocktail sticks, these bites are refreshing and tasty. Toothpick appetizers at their finest.
The term cocktail stick makes these appetizers sound so much more refined than the term toothpick.
Ingredients and Equipment
Here's a list of ingredients I use. You'll find exact quantities in the printable recipe at the bottom of this post.
- English cucumber
- full fat cream cheese
- horseradish sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- smoked salmon slices
- red radishes (trimmed, washed, and thinly sliced)
- pea shoots or watercress to garnish (fresh parsley can be used if these are difficult to source)
- cocktail sticks to assemble
If you don't have watercress use any fresh herbs you like. Mint, parsley, and cilantro would work well.
If you don't like horseradish sauce, you could chop up some chives to mix through the cream cheese instead.
Thinly sliced carrots could be used instead of the radishes if you find the flavor of the radishes too peppery.
Directions for Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites
Here you'll find step-by-step photo instructions to help you assemble these tasty party morsels.
Peel the cucumber and cut in half down the center lengthwise.
Slice each half into 10 evenly sized slices (yields 20 semi-circular shape slices.)
Cut the smoked salmon slices into strips. Each slice should yield 4 to 5 strips.
Twenty strips are required. Fold each strip over and back on itself to create a small concertina type stack.
Mix the cream cheese and horseradish sauce. Add the freshly ground black pepper and mix thoroughly.
Assemble each appetizer in layers. Lay a piece of cucumber at the base.
Add a piece of folded smoked salmon.
Add a small blob of cream cheese mixture.
Top with a radish slice.
Push a cocktail stick down through the top of the radish to the cucumber to secure the appetizer. (Note: it is easier to thread the radish slice onto the cocktail stick first and then push the stick down through the rest of the stack.)
Garnish with green pea shoots, watercress or chopped fresh parsley to serve.
Tips for assembling kebab style cucumber appetizers
Here are some tips for making these appetizers. As usual I tweak my Irish recipes for cooking success in America.
Preparing the Cucumbers
The best way to serve these cucumbers is peeled. You can choose to leave the peel on but I believe they look far more appealing without the peel.
You can choose to peel parallel strips from your cucumber if you would like to add dark green contrasting color to this appetizer.
Cut a cucumber in half at the center point for this recipe and save the other half for salads or a different recipe.
Use a sharp knife to cut the cucumber half down the center lengthwise. Then slice each side into bite size pieces about ½ to ¾ inches wide.
A mandoline may not create a thick enough slice for this appetizer so I recommend using a sharp knife.
Smoked Salmon in Ireland vs America
Smoked salmon in Ireland is thin and sliced. It is similar to lox.
Smoked salmon in America tends to be chunky. Some stores sell Norwegian smoked salmon which is sliced like lox. Lox isn’t smoked, so it lacks the distinctive flavor of Irish smoked salmon.
However, if you can’t find traditional Irish smoked salmon then lox will work just fine.
Can I make these appetizers in advance?
These appetizers can be made up to 4 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator.
I do not recommend making them any further in advance since the cucumber will leach water if it is cut and exposed to the air.
The smoked salmon can also change color ever so slightly when it is exposed to air. However, they can be made a little while in advance and set aside as you prepare the remainder of your party or entertaining menu.
Recipe Card for Salmon and Cucumber Bites
Here's a short video outlining the steps for assembling these appetizers.
Here's the printable recipe card for this favorite Irish appetizer.
Salmon and Cucumber Bites
- ½ English cucumber
- 3 tablespoons full fat cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon horseradish add 2 teaspoons if you like spicier food
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces smoked salmon slices lox will work in the US
- 4 small red radishes trimmed,washed, and thinly sliced
- 10 sprigs pea shoots watercress or parsley can be substituted as a garnish
- Peel thecucumber and cut in half down the center. Slice each half into 10 evenly sized pieces (yields 20 semi-circular shape slices.)
- Cut the smoked salmon slices into strips. Each slice should yield 4 to 5 strips. Twenty strips are required. Fold each strip over and back on itself to create a small concertina type stack.
- Mix the cream cheese and horseradish sauce. Add the freshly ground black pepper and mix thoroughly.
- Assemble the appetizer in layers. Lay a piece of cucumber at the base. Add a piece of folded smoked salmon. Add a small blob of cream cheese mixture. Top with a radish slice.
- Push a cocktail stick down through the top of the radish to the cucumber to secure the appetizer. (Note: it is easier to thread the radish slice onto the cocktail stick first and then push the stickdown through the rest of the stack.)
- Garnish with green pea shoots, water cress or chopped fresh parsley to serve.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
There are many more Irish appetizer recipes and party foods to explore in my recipe collection. You'll find shepherd's pie, Irish potato recipes, Irish potato bites, and boxty (an Irish potato pancake).
If you prefer more Irish American style party foods then my collection of Irish appetizers for Saint Patrick's Day may be just what you need to impress your guests. There you'll find dips, beer inspired appetizers, beer cheese dip, potato skins, reuben egg rolls, Irish nachos with tortilla chips or potato nachos, reuben dip, corned beef and cabbage sliders, a reuben sandwich with thousand island dressing and sauerkraut, Irish deviled eggs plus colcannon puffs.
Many of these recipes are wonderful for big game day get togethers too.
And don't forget that we Irish love to serve crisps or potato chips too. Tayto cheese and onion flavor crisps are my favorite, or smokey bacon crisps are also a great taste of Ireland.
Thanks so much for checking out my Irish recipes and ramblings, and joining me on your journey to discover your Irish heritage and cultural inheritance.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade