Smoked salmon mac and cheese may not be as decadent as lobster mac and cheese, but it's every bit as scrumptious in its own right. What’s more, our canned smoked salmon removes about 90% of the effort if you consider the time required to catch, cut, smoke and can wild Alaska salmon.
For these reasons and others, we think your family will proclaim this smoked salmon mac and cheese recipe a household favorite. Once they’ve tried it, your children will scream for this smoked salmon dish until you prepare it again. Then they will scream for it some more, so consider stocking up on Wildfish Cannery Smoked Salmon. Perhaps you prefer Smoked King
in this dish, but you'll never know if you don't try it with Smoked Coho
and Smoked Pink
When they themselves have grown and spawned, they will pass the recipe onto their children, who will scream throughout their youth for it. In short, you will leave an indelible mark on generations of screaming descendants with this recipe, so let’s break down the components and get you into a thorough understanding.
Understanding Smoked Salmon Mac and Cheese
Quite basically, we’re dealing with macaroni noodles, sauce, and topping. We will let you discern which noodle shape is right for your family, but tubular noodles hold more sauce, and elbow macaroni is of an oddly comforting shape. We will also trust that you are able to cook and drain pasta to an al dente texture without sustaining injury.
That cooked pasta will be blended with a bechamel sauce of smoked Gouda cheese that’s fortified with canned smoked salmon juice, then finished with just a dab of anchovy butter to boost umami. A li’l dab’ll do, as we’re not making Caesar salad dressing. The anchovy butter adds very slight seafood flavor while boosting the low end of the flavor profile.
Finally, the topping: Flaked smoked salmon is gently placed atop the mac and cheese in a cast iron skillet, then bedazzled with buttered Panko and baked. You can crumble some of the smoked salmon into the sauce if you like, but you’ll appreciate it more if it occupies its own topmost layer in larger chunks.
Now you just need the recipe. Okay.
Smoked Salmon Mac and Cheese
16 oz cooked macaroni
1 pint milk
1/2 tbsp plain butter
1/2 tbsp white flour
8 oz shredded smoked Gouda cheese
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp melted plain butter or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat the milk, butter and flour in a saucepan over a medium flame, whisking and whisking all the while until thickened and smooth. Reduce the flame and stir in both cheeses, plus the juices from the canned smoked salmon. When the cheese has incorporated, blend in the anchovy butter. Taste, then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Combine the cooked pasta with sauce and spoon it into an appropriately sized cast iron skillet that has been lightly oiled.
Gently, ever so gently, flake the smoked salmon and disperse it evenly atop the mac and cheese. Stir the melted butter into the Panko breadcrumbs, then sprinkle over the salmon. Garnish with chopped parsley. Or don’t. Your call.
Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes or so until the breadcrumbs have gone golden.
There are options available to you in preparing this dish. First, you can reduce or increase the amount of smoked Gouda for a thinner or thicker sauce. Frankly, we like our mac and cheese on the thicker, cheesier side. Howsoever you like yours, it's a good idea to keep some extra cheese and milk on hand to adjust the consistency.
Also, if you find that there’s just not enough smoked salmon per serving, you can certainly open another can for a protein boost. Flake half of that into the finished mac and cheese, and disperse the rest on top before sprinkling breadcrumbs. Or, just put it all on top.