This dip is a creamy and delicious seafood appetizer that can be enjoyed with vegetable sticks, crackers, chips, or even used to stuff mushrooms and bake. A very simple dip, it combines cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in equal parts which is all flavored with shiso leaves, salmon flakes and mentaiko.
Mentaiko, also known as tarako, is Alaska pollock roe which is usually sold in the egg sac and soaked in a spicy brine. It is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and is often served with rice as a breakfast accompaniment. But mentaiko can also be used in cooking – it is sometimes used in omelettes, stuffed in breads, or eaten on its own. Mentaiko comes in two basic types – mild (maroyaka or karakunai) and spicy (karashi). I prefer the karashi type for dips. If you buy mentaiko it often comes in the sac which is clear and very thin. The sac is edible and will break up when you use it, or you can choose to squeeze the roe out.
Salmon flakes can be bought in jars at any Asian grocery. If you prefer, fresh salmon can be used, but make sure all the bones are removed and the salmon is chopped finely into flakes.
The shiso adds a nice refreshing flavor to the dip and more can be added to taste. You can also use other herbs to flavor this dip such as chives, mitsuba (Japanese Parsley), or tarragon.