Polish Smoked Fish Paste {Pasta Rybna}

I did not get to do as much cooking on our quick and busy weekend trip to Alaska, as we were enjoying the snowy outdoors snow-machining, walking and feeling cold. I did however score some smoked, canned salmon in oil.  A generous gentleman who’s cabin we stayed in, fished it out of the nearby river last summer, and carefully canned it putting his “stamp” on it. Its fresh and soft meat is flaky but not dry, sweet and slightly smoky. Quite honestly, its like none I’ve ever tasted before… and I eat a lot of fish.

Growing up near the Baltic Sea, fish was prevalent and often present in our kitchen. Poland being a mainly Catholic country, Fridays were days to exercise our religion by not eating meat. That made room for fast friendly fish Fridays. In the late 70s and early 80s, working citizens were given food coupons (rations), and we were only allowed to purchase a limited amount of meat (and other “luxuries”) per month. Eating fish was a chance to save on expensive (and not always available) option of meat. As rations are long gone, and meat is readily available, I still prefer fish and cook and eat it often. 

If I didn’t really care about this beautiful piece of fish, I’d make it into a fish paste, blending it with mayo, spices and herbs. But having this rare chance to taste unprocessed, all natural Alaskan salmon, I’m keeping it simple and eating it right our of the jar. More is less in this case. 

To make a delicious smoked fish paste, you will need hot-smoked fish. Meat of hot smoked fish is solid and looks like it’s been cooked. Cold smoked fish looks translucent, more as if it was raw. 

Polish Smoked Fish Paste {Pasta Rybna}

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min


  • 8 oz. of hot smoked fish*
  • 2 tbs of your favorite oil (or 1 tbs of mayo)
  • 3 pickles, chopped
  • 1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs of dill, chopped
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Brake up the fish with a fork, add remaining ingredients. Mix until combined.


* look in the refrigerated fish section of your grocery store or go with canned smoked fish of any kind.

Eat on crackers or bread. Makes for a great appetizer or lunch.

Have you ever had smoked fish? Let me know in comments below!