Instead Of Bacon, Try Adding Smoked Fish To Your Next Baked Potato

We all know that almost no one, besides maybe vegans and vegetarians, would willingly substitute bacon for anything. Purists adore the saltiness, the smoky flavor, and the leftover bacon grease you can keep to make better cornbread crust than you could ever imagine. Sometimes, however, even the most die-hard bacon lovers need to shake things up. While bacon may be the gold standard in terms of improving everything from beer to scallops, there is nevertheless room for some substitutes that service the carnivore with similar savory flavors.

One such substitute is smoked fish. While there are meatless bacon alternatives out there, a piece of well-seasoned, smoked fish is likely going to appeal to the bacon lover a lot more than something plant-based. Rest assured, smoked salmon bacon is a real thing. It is made using flavorful salmon belly and is smoked and cured almost identically to its traditional pork counterpart, all while omitting trans fats and providing the body with those all-important omega fatty acids.

Baked potatoes are great canvases on which to experiment with this type of substitution. They are an all-encompassing, feel-good dish that straddles the line between healthy and indulgent, depending on what you add to them. They are a blank slate with which you can get as creative with as you like. You may well argue that bacon is the best topping, bar none. Take a leap of faith with us and swap out that bacon for some smoked fish. You may just be surprised by what you discover.

Striking a balance

If you're concerned about the flavors smoked fish will bring to a loaded baked potato recipe, consider the flavors already at play on a classic spud. You've got the smoky salty bacon, the tang of the cheddar cheese, and the tart creaminess of the appropriately named sour cream. Sometimes chives are also tossed on for a bit of bright onion flavor. Now consider what swapping the bacon with smoked salmon would taste like. It would still have that saltiness and the smokiness, without being nearly as heavy as bacon.

Now, your choices are not limited simply to smoked salmon. There are a whole array of smoked fishes at your disposal, including trout, haddock, and mackerel. However, smoked salmon is the one you're most likely to find at the fish section of your local supermarket, as it is one of the most popular fish in the world.

Returning to the potatoes, The Washington Post recommends making butter infused with scallions, your choice of smoked fish, and dill. The butter shares very similar flavors to the traditional bacon, cheese, and sour cream. Other options include crumbling the smoked fish directly onto the baked potato, or scraping out the insides, mashing everything together, stuffing the mixture back into the skins, and baking again to crisp. Regardless of how you swap your bacon for fish, you're certainly not sacrificing anything in the way of flavor.