Few things are more reminiscent of classic Jewish deli fare than whitefish salad. And while buying it by the pint is a weekend morning luxury, making your own whitefish salad might be even better, because you can tailor it to your exact flavor preferences. Not a dill fan? Skip it! Like things uber-tart? Add more lemon juice. The only thing that’s non-negotiable: Smoked fish. Still, there’s room for creativity — this salad is just as tasty piled when made with whitefish as it is with hot-smoked salmon or trout.
As for the dairy that tethers together the salad, nothing is as delightfully rich as creamy labneh, but you could just as easily sub in full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream if you already have them on hand. Serve this smoked fish salad with toasted marbled rye bread (the superior choice, in my opinion) or make a bagel sandwich; though you could just as easily swap the bread for a pile of crisp Little Gem or Bibb lettuce with a handful of crackers on the side. Just don’t skip an extra squeeze of lemon to finish.
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus more juice to taste
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ½ to ¾ cup labneh, Greek yogurt, or sour cream
- 2 pounds hot-smoked whitefish, trout, or salmon, picked off the bone
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the bias, plus any leaves, reserved
- ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped¼ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
- Rye toast, bagels, or crackers for serving
- Crisp lettuce and/or sliced cucumbers, for serving
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Combine scallions, lemon zest, and juice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour.
- Stir in labneh (start with ½ cup and add more to taste after the following ingredients), then fold in picked fish, sliced celery, parsley, all but 1 tablespoon dill, and sliced chives. Season with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
- Top with reserved dill and celery leaves. Serve with toast, bagels, or crackers, as well as lettuce, cucumbers, and lemon.