Savory muffins are so versatile because they can go with breakfast or dinner and they could even BE lunch. The combination here is awesome- cheddar cheese, smoked salmon, chives or dill, and pink peppercorns. The result is a Scandanavian-inspired muffin that’s not at all fussy to make. Everything is just folded together in a bowl before baking. The hard part is deciding whether to make them in a muffin pan (regular or jumbo), a loaf cake, or in my case, a small cheesecake pan.
The smoked salmon is salty and sweet with a creamy texture that pairs nicely with the smooth flavor of the cheese. The flavors are enhanced further by the hint of fresh dill (Chives would be equally tasty, though different in flavor).
Using pink peppercorns in the recipe is essential for their unique yet mild flavor and pretty color. Because the pink peppercorns aren’t very pungent (actually a berry, not a true peppercorn), I added a bit of freshly ground black pepper as well.
These savory muffins hold together well and have a buttery flavor without any toppings or spread. But they’re even more tasty with a nice ricotta, cream cheese or cremé frâiche. A perfect accompaniment for anything from a casual brunch to a fancy prime rib dinner.
Savory Muffins with Smoked Salmon, Chives and Cheddar
- 3 oz. smoked wild salmon
- Handful of fresh dill or chives
- 2 Tablespoons pink peppercorns plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 6 Tablespoons milk
- 6 Tablespoons oil of your choice olive, avocado or vegetable
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheese such as mild cheddar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Condiments: Butter or ricotta cheese mixed with freshly grated horseradish to taste. Also delicious with extra smoked salmon on top of the ricotta cheese. May substitute cream cheese or creme fraiche for the ricotta.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour jumbo or regular muffin tins, or spray with non-stick cooking spray that has flour in it. Cook's note: I made mine in a small multiple cheesecake pan. Each cup measures 2" deep x 3" diameter. Jumbo muffin tin would yield the same sized cakes.
- Chop the salmon into small pieces. Coarsely chop the dill or chives. Using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, grind the peppercorns (Save out a few for sprinkling on the cakes).
- Combine the eggs, milk, and oil in a large mixing bowl and beat together.
- With a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, cheese, salmon, dill or chives, and peppercorns. Stir to combine.
- Gently fold in the baking powder and black pepper.
- Transfer to the prepared pan, filling about 3/4 to top. Sprinkle with extra whole and crushed peppercorns, if desired.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Let cool about 5 minutes before turning out.
- Serve with butter, extra smoked salmon or ricotta mixed with freshly grated horseradish.
- These cakes are best served the day they are made, but can be refrigerated and served the next day. Take out of the fridge about an hour before serving to allow to come to room temperature.
- This recipe makes 6 cakes if baking in a small cheesecake pan (each cup is 2" deep x 3" diameter)
- Makes 6 jumbo muffins, or 12 regular size muffins, if using muffin tin.
- Cook's note: you can also make this in a loaf pan, bake for approximately 45 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Cakes and Loaves cookbook.