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Tons of savory flavors are packed into this holiday-friendly cedar plank-smoked Salmon Cheese Ball! Pairing it with all the fixings of a Niçoise salad on a Crudités Platter makes it an even more inviting party appetizer.
This post is sponsored by Cedar Bay Grilling Company, but all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands we love that make this blog possible!
Coming at you today with a quick, simple appetizer that’s just as welcome in the summer months as it is on a holiday spread!
Who doesn’t enjoy a cheese ball, eh?
At Christmas, covered in pecans and dried cranberries, with crunchy crackers and a drizzle of honey.
Or this snazzy, savory salmon version, paired up with the freshest seasonal veggies you can find.
Any party would be lucky to have both!
JUST TAKE ME TO THE SALMON CHEESE BALL & NIÇOISE CRUDITÉS PLATTER ALREADY!
If you’d rather skip my (pretty darn helpful) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this deliciously easy cheese ball recipe, just scroll right on down to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card!
The inspiration for this cheese ball recipe came from a package of cedar planked salmon.
Abe and I received two salmon fillets in the mail to use in this recipe challenge from Cedar Bay Grilling Company. Now, challenges aren’t something we normally take part in, but he was all amped about salmon and grilling and the cedar plank idea, so we went for it.
Both planks went on the grill.
One – the Sugar & Spice – was that night’s dinner.
The other was leftovers. I had to think fast about how to use it. Immediately, bagels and lox came to mind, but the Applewood with Orange and Ginger salmon didn’t exactly lend itself to that flavor profile.
A salmon Niçoise salad also came to mind…but I really wanted to make it more interesting.
You all know I love a good charcuterie board, right? Well – I went crudites.
Wait…What Is A Niçoise Salad?
The Niçoise salad has many variations, but this “simple food for poor people” is traditionally made with:
- Fresh tomatoes
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Niçoise olives
- Olive oil
Though it originated in Nice, France, the dish has grown in popularity worldwide since the early 20th century. It has been recreated by many chefs to include tuna, boiled potatoes, raw seasonal vegetables such as green beans and bell peppers, and black olives.
How To Make A Salmon Cheese Ball
First, combine cold, cooked salmon with softened cream cheese, cheddar, yogurt, scallions, cilantro, garlic powder, five spice powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to blend the ingredients together so they form a cohesive mixture.
Lightly spray a large piece of plastic wrap with olive oil spray (to prevent sticking). Transfer the cheese mixture to the middle of the plastic.
Then wrap the plastic wrap around the mixture and use it to form it into a ball. Seal and refrigerate the cheese ball for at least 1 hour, until it has completely chilled and is less soft and pliable.
Finally, just before serving, combine the crushed walnuts and sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture, pressing to adhere.
Can Cheese Balls Be Made Ahead? Frozen?
Yes, this Salmon Cheese Ball can be made up to one day in advance. Store it in the plastic wrap until you’re ready to serve, then roll it in the nuts/sesame seeds.
However, I would not recommend freezing it. Freezing this recipe will change the texture and flavor of the soft cream cheese and fish inside.
On the off chance your cheese ball hasn’t disappeared after two hours (the longest you should leave it out of refrigeration), place it in a sealed plastic container. Refrigerate it until you’re ready to polish off the rest.
How To Build A Crudites Platter
Crudités (krew-dee-tay) by definition are simply sliced raw vegetables that are usually served with some sort of dip. Basically, that platter of grab-and-go veggies at the grocery store is a lazy crudites platter.
You can easily build your own platter – and it will look a hell of a lot better than that plastic contraption full of celery sticks!
Start by grabbing a large serving platter, cutting board, or party tray. Place your salmon cheese ball somewhere near the middle. (TIP: use a small bowl as a placeholder while you build your tray so the cheese ball stays cold up until serving time.) Fill small bowls of jars with brown or grain mustard, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, and scatter them around the tray.
Begin placing your vegetables around the cheese ball in sections. Keep colors separate to make the platter visually interesting. You can use any kind of seasonal vegetables, but to keep it Niçoise-forward, be sure to include:
- Fresh green beans (blanched in boiling water for 1 minute for a more vibrant green)
- Grape or cherry tomatoes (heirlooms are fun!)
- Red bell pepper, cut into strips
Once your veggies are in place, fill in the holes with an assortment of crackers, olives, and nuts. Place some paprika-garnished hard-boiled eggs in various places, and garnish with fresh herbs and edible flowers (if you’ve got ’em!).
LOOKING FOR MORE APPETIZER PLATTER RECIPES?
- Maple Sriracha Candied Bacon & A French Winter Cheese Board
- The Best Brunch Charcuterie Board
- Chorizo Albondigas & A Spanish Tapas Platter
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING A SALMON CHEESE BALL & CRUDITES PLATTER:
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Salmon Cheese Ball & Niçoise Crudités Platter
Salmon Cheese Ball
- 8 ounces cooked Cedar Bay Salmon
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Five spice powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or almonds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Niçoise Crudités Platter
- Fresh green beans trimmed
- Red bell pepper sliced
- Green bell peppers sliced
- English cucumber thickly sliced
- Cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 hard-boiled eggs halved
- Assorted crackers
- Assorted nuts
- Mixed olives
- Whole-grain mustard
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Fresh basil leaves
Salmon Cheese Ball
- Combine salmon, cream cheese, cheddar, yogurt, scallions, cilantro, garlic powder, five spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Use a rubber spatula to mix well.
- Lightly spray a large piece of plastic wrap with olive oil spray. Scoop the cheese mixture into a pile in the middle of the plastic. Using the plastic wrap to help, form the mixture into a ball and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
- When ready to serve, combine walnuts and sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture, pressing to adhere.
Niçoise Crudités Platter
- Place cheese ball in the center of a large serving board. Arrange vegetables, crackers, eggs, nuts, and olives around the cheese ball on the board.
- Place mustard, oil, and vinegar into small bowls or jars and arrange in the empty spaces. Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.