Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche in Tiny Potato Nests

Crispy potato nests with a petite dollop of creamy lemon-dill filling, then topped with a morsel of smoked fish make these little treasures perfect for passing at a small party.

My favorite way of serving them is accompanied with a flute of Champagne; the combination makes a proper elegant nibble for a special occasion or celebration.

The contrast between the warm, salty, crispy potato and the cold creamy filling is a fleeting pleasure to be enjoyed soon after being assembled.

To be at their best, they must be baked then filled at the last moment these are best reserved for a small gathering of just a few (or two.)

But they are worth it.

Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche in Tiny Potato Nests
Yields 24 filled nests (recipe is easily halved)

1/2 to 3/4 pounds of potatoes, Russet or Yukon Gold, peeled
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill (or heaping 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Pretty fresh green herb for garnish
Smoked salmon (or other smoked fish) for topping; as generously as you like.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)
Position rack to center (if you have the option, a bit closer to the bottom of the oven than the top, as the delicate tops tend to brown more quickly than the base of the cups.)

Generously grease the mini-muffin cups, be thorough; it will save you aggravation later. Cooking spray does not work as well for this recipe.

Finely shred potatoes with a mandolin (these should be very finely shredded). In a medium bowl, stir together grated potato, egg, salt and pepper. Squeeze any excess liquid from shredded potatoes. Spoon mixture, evenly divided, into 24 well-greased mini muffin tins.

With a spoon or fork, push the grated potato up the sides to make a nest shape. Just try to distribute the shreds to resemble a basket. The charm is that they will all be different so don't fuss about perfection; just try to form a nest shape.

Drizzle a small amount (about ¼ teaspoon) melted butter into each nest.

Bake in preheated oven until golden and cooked through 15-20 minutes. If edges/tops begin browning too quickly, loosely cover top of muffin pan with foil. When done remove pan from oven and cool on rack. When cool, remove from muffin tins and place on serving dish.*

Make filling ~ while nests are baking (or can be made a couple of hours ahead):

In a small bowl, stir together crème fraîche (or thick sour cream), lemon rind and dill. If made ahead, cover and refrigerate. Give it another stir before filling nests.

Place a small spoonful in each slightly cooled "nest", dividing evenly.

Place a small piece of smoked fish on each one and garnish with a bit of fresh green; dill, chives, watercress, etc.

Serve immediately.

*Note: If you have difficulty removing potato nests from the mini-muffin tins, allow them to cool for a bit, then "encourage" them to release with a thin bamboo skewer (or tip of a knife.)


  1. Mary, I think you missed your calling to be a food-stylist for Gourmet/BA!!! Photos and recipes look absolutely delish! Your site is such a lovely place to come to!

  2. I agree...I am always amazed at how beautiful your food is. These don't look terribly difficult, but the effect is stunning. I can also see putting other things in the center. Gorgeous.

  3. you never cease to amaze me, page after page of fantastic food and ideas! i am soooooooo happy to have found you, you make my days extra fun!

  4. Wow! You really have a knack for making beautiful looking food! The grape cluster bread, borscht and now these lovely, elegant potato nests. I'm book marking this to try soon! I'm thinking these will be great to serve at a party.

  5. Oh my...would I love to pop one of those babies in my mouth right about now!
    Just magnificent!

  6. Oh, how I wish I could reach through the screen and snitch one right off the plate. Beautiful as usual, your presentations amaze me!

  7. Oh they look delcious! I want to make them now! Thank you!

  8. ok, I had to have fish taco's because of your post. Now I need to have a potato, salmon nest. I really do! Those look amazing! All these cravings, I have to have mushroom lasagna at some point, too. Mary, couldn't you just come to Long Island and open a takeout place for me :)

  9. Oh my, this is gorgeous! I love the idea of potato nests filled with some of my favourite yummies. Must remember this when I want to impress :)

  10. delicious appetizer idea using tater nests! I usually use creme fraiche and smoked salmon over shallot flavored toasts. I also like mixing any leftover of the creme fraiche sauce and salmon with spaghetti for a delicious pasta dish.

  11. These look absolutely divine, and with a flute of champagne, yes please.. heaven.

  12. I'm not a big fan of smoked salmon, but anything in a potato nest gets my vote! Great photos, too. I wish I had your talent!

  13. These look so wonderful. The nests are almost perfectly golden brown.

  14. Ok, lemme just say that your blog is amazing. I'm finally catching up on my google reader and I just keep getting drawn to your posts!

  15. Oh for crying out loud. I was going to do a NYE appetizer for a party with smoked trout and using crisped WonTon wrapper for the base. Now, I have to do this. Because it is superior. Fabulous, as usual Mari.
    QUESTION: How much in advance can I bake these nests you think? and can they be stored in ziploc bags for a bit? A few hrs.??


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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