Smoking Salmon for Charcutepalooza

Since the latest challenge from the folks at Charcutepalooza was hot smoking meat or fish, and we were blessed to be given a 3 lb. piece of wild red salmon by our hunter/fisherman/pilot friend, the selection of what to smoke this month was pretty obvious.  Not so clear was the" how to" of it all, though  I had the feeling that if sufficient directions were found, and I followed them step by step, then my first attempt at smoking wouldn't be a complete disaster.  And, I was right.  That salmon smoked up beautifully, moist, flavorful and tender.  I cut the piece in half lengthwise, so there would be skin on just one side of each, and so it wouldn't be so thick. Next it went into a salt and sugar brine flavored with toasted, crushed coriander seeds, 5 Spice and yellow miso for 2 hours at room temperature.

We have a Grillware charcoal BBQ, which has a thermometer on the hinged lid, which made things simpler.  Also a hand crank to raise and lower the grill level, which made adding extra chips and coals easier.  I went on the side of less charcoal being better.  You can add heat easier than taking it away, was my thought.  I used apple wood chips, soaked overnight, but they dried out after an hour, and weren't smoking much, so I threw on some fresh green guava wood pieces to continue producing smoke.  I had 2 old metal pans of water under the fish, as advised.  So, the salmon went for 3 hours at very low heat, and got a good dose of smoke along the way.

So many ways to serve this wonderful smoky flavored fish. One of my favorites was Open-faced Smoked Salmon Sandwiches on whole grains bread.

The creamy salmon mix had lots of fresh dill, mayonnaise, whole milk yogurt, horseradish and slivers of preserved lemon.  Spread this on slices of some very fresh, wonderful bread.  Absolutely fabulous.  I could eat that every day, and think the combination of dill, salty lemon and salmon is a menage a trois made in heaven, if that's not a sacrilegious way of putting it.

Another rather tasty use for that fish was in Salmon Salad Nicoise.  There were new potatoes, celery, cucumber, black olives, romaine lettuce, a bit of watercress and hard-cooked eggs, to which smoked salmon was added on top.

The other use I put that fish to will remain unseen.  No photos were taken, unfortunately.  It was Salmon Crepes with Lemon Cream Sauce.  I will give the recipe however, as it was too too good not to share.

Salmon Crepes with Lemon Cream Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet Today, edited by Ruth Reichl
 Serves 3

For the Crepes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cups milk (I used soy)
1/4 cup butter, melted

The Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 tablespoons AP flour
1 (8 oz.) bottle clam juice
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

about 1/2 - 3/4 lb.of  flat pieces hot-smoked salmon fillet, skin and bones removed
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teas. freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

Make the crepes first.  Whisk the eggs in blender, add in the milk, salt and flour slowly until smooth.  Lightly brush a small skillet with butter and heat over medium heat until hot.  Add about 1/4 cup batter for each crepe, swirling it around, tilting to coat bottom.  Pour any excess back into bowl.  Cook until underside is lightly browned, flip and just heat the other side.  Remove to a plate as each is finished.  I made 9.  Let them cool while you prepare the sauce and filling.  Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the butter for sauce in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium low, just until foam subsides.  Add flour to make a roux, whisking for 2 minutes or so.  Add the clam juice and water in a slow stream, whisking.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Stir in cream, zest and pepper and remove from heat.

Butter a 13x9 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Stir together the filling butter, tarragon, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Spread half of the sauce in baking dish.  Place one crepe at a time on work surface, browned side up. Spread 1 teaspoon butter mixture in center of crepe.  Lay pieces of salmon on top, then fold top and bottom over the fish, leaving ends open.  Transfer to baking dish, seam side down.  Fill remaining crepes in the same way and arrange in dish.  Spoon over the remaining sauce.  Bake just until heated through and sauce is bubbling, 15-20 minutes.

I cannot wait to do another smoking experiment. 


Swathi said...

Smoking salmon dip look awesome .

Kirsten Lindquist said...

WoW!So jealous on so many levels! Looks amazing!

Joanne said...

Smoked salmon is one of my most favorite things on this earth and I am SO impressed that you made it yourself! the dip would make for an awesome bagel spread!