Grilled Appetizers for Health and Wealth in the New Year

Cucumber Smoked Salmon Roll
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New Year’s Eve represents “out with the old and in with the new ” for virtually everyone around the world. Promises are made, scraps of paper burned, toasts are given and food traditions are kept.

I love rituals, and all the little meanings we place within rituals. When planning a New Year’s menu, even the appetizers can have meaning. In that light, I give you two appetizers – one for Wealth and one for Health. The Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rolls are for health, while the Pulled Pork Brioche “Purses” are, naturally, for wealth.

We’ll start with the most important one…the one for health. That’s what you were going to say, weren’t you? I’m from the Northwest, where we place a lot of importance on salmon. It’s not just a delicious, bountiful fish; it’s high in omega-threes, full of the good fats, a wild swimmer (aka, not a bottom feeder), and on the “Best” or “Good” column of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch List. It’s also integral to the food chain of the Pacific.

This appetizer has the wow factor, but is super-easy and can be assembled in minutes. You will need some sort of vegetable slicer that can make long thin cucumber slices (or have good knife skills!). The grilled part of this dish is the green onion “laces” which can be grilled quickly on any Premium TRU-Infrared™ grill by Char-Broil®.

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rolls


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 ounces herb goat cheese
  • Thin sliced smoked salmon lox, about 18 half-ounce pieces, cut uniformly
  • 2-3 cucumbers, cut into thin planks (about 18 total)
  • Thin shaved red onion
  • Water crackers (optional)


  1. Lightly grill green onions until they become wilted and slightly charred, but not crispy. Set aside.
  2. When cool, pull apart individual leaves – each onion will give you 2-3 “ties”.
  3. Mix cream cheese and goat cheese together.
  4. Slice cucumbers into thin planks. Cut off ends to make uniform edge. Lay out on a board.
  5. Put a slice of lox toward the top of the cucumber planks. Add a level teaspoon of cheese mixture, then a few slices of shaved red onion.
  6. Roll up until cucumber overlaps a bit.
  7. Stand up and tie middle with grilled green onion. Repeat. Serve with crackers (optional).
Pulled Pork Brioche Purses


  • 1 pound smoked pulled pork (or See Recipe: Big Easy Pork Shoulder)
  • 4-6 ounces barbecue sauce
  • 1 sheet frozen brioche dough, thawed
  • 2 egg whites


  1. Prepare pulled pork and mix half of the sauce in with the meat.
  2. Make twelve 1-1/4 ounce balls with the brioche dough (be careful not to over handle).
  3. Proof dough in a warm place or low oven (120°F) until it doubles in size.
  4. Make a pocket in the center of each bun.
  5. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of the pork and sauce mixture in each bun. Add a dollop of barbecue sauce on each portion.
  6. Close each bun with a twist.
  7. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  8. Brush each bun with egg whites, and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately or chill for later. If refrigerated, warm up buns for about 20 seconds in the microwave before serving.

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