Fish Friday: Cool summer appetizer

No heating up the kitchen to make this spread from “Carolina Catch,” which is great for summer parties.

Smoked Trout Cheese Spread

from “Carolina Catch: Cooking North Carolina Fish and Shellfish from Mountains to Coast” by Debbie Moose copyright 2018

Makes 10 to 12 servings

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

3/4 cup coarsely chopped smoked trout

1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion

Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons capers

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Put the cream cheese, mayonnaise and smoked trout in the bowl of a food processor. Process until combined. Add the red onions, pepper and capers, and pulse a few times until they are just mixed in.

Scrape the mixture into a container and sprinkle with the parsley. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. The spread can be made up to 2 days ahead. Serve with crackers.

To learn more – and get more recipes – take a look at the book. And the Moose is on the loose! Visit Events at to find a signing or cooking class I’m doing near you!

The snack bowl

Fans have two approaches to tailgating. One is to bring all the fixings to cook a big pre-game meal in the parking lot. The other goes for munchies, finger food that you can put out for hours of noshing.

The grazing approach has many advantages, one of which is that it can be easy on the head tailgater. Many appetizers can be made ahead of time, and offer a lot of variety. They can be hearty, and even include (gasp!) vegetables. Go beyond the simple chips-and-dip approach to make a good do-ahead meal of nibbles. Balance lighter fare, like tabouli and pita, with more substantial tummy-fillers, like chunky chicken salad, cold fried chicken or this high-flavor, low-effort cheese ball. Form it in the shape of a football! Have fun!

Nutty Blue Cheese Ball

From “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home” by Debbie Moose

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Place cream cheese, blue cheese and Dijon mustard in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add chives and pulse just to blend in.

2. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface. Spread chopped walnuts in the center of the sheet. Place the cheese mixture on the walnuts and pull the plastic wrap around it, pressing and rolling to adhere the nuts. Twist the plastic wrap to seal and shape into a ball, or your preferred shape. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Serve with crackers.

Serves 6