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Smoking hot salmon

Ashok Eapen K | 09th Dec 2012

Smoked salmon is a preparation of salmon, typically a fillet that has been cured and smoked. It is a popular ingredient in canapés, often combined with cream cheese and lemon juice, or `bulked out' with other fish.

In North America, smoked salmon is often sliced very thinly and served on bread with cream cheese or with sliced red onion, lemon and capers. In British Columbia, it may also be fillets or nuggets, including hickory-smoked varieties and candied salmon (smoked and honey glazed, also known as ‘Indian candy’).

In Europe, smoked salmon may be found thinly sliced or in thicker fillets (such as `tsar fillet') or sold as chopped `scraps' for use in cooking. It is often used in pâtés, quiches and pasta sauces.

COLD AND HOT SMOKING

Most smoked salmon is cold smoked, typically at 37 °C (99 °F).

The cold smoking does not cook the fish, resulting in a delicate texture.

Although some smoke houses go for a deliberately `oaky' style with prolonged exposure to smoke from oak chips, industrial production favours less exposure to smoke and a blander style, using cheaper woods.

Commonly used for both trout and salmon, hot smoking `cooks' the salmon making it less moist, and firmer, with a less delicate taste. It may be eaten like cold smoked salmon, or mixed with salads or pasta. It is essential to brine the salmon sufficiently and dry the skin enough to form a pellicle prior to smoking. Without a sufficient pellicle, fat will ooze out of the fish as it cooks, resulting in an unsightly presentation.

CURING METHODS: Here are three main curing methods that are typically used to cure salmon prior to smoking.

Wet brining: Brining in a solution containing water, salt, sugar, spices, with (or without) sodium nitrite for a number of days.

Dry curing: This method is a traditional method typically used in Europe, in which salmon fillets are covered with a mix of salt and sugar. Dry curing produces a drier, silkier product and typically is faster than wet brining.

Injection: This is the least typical method as it damages the delicate flesh of salmon. This is the fastest method of all as it injects the curing solution -hence allowing a faster cure throughout the flesh.

INDIAN HARD SMOKED SALMON

Indian hard smoked salmon (once known by the term `squaw candy') is first kippered with salt, sugar and spices and then smoked until hard and jerky-like. First cut into fillets, the salmon is soaked in a salt brine, then placed in a smoke-filled room until the fish cures. Hardwoods, such as alder, hickory, oak or fruit tree wood, are typically used for smoking salmon. The process kills any parasites or bacteria within the flesh and preserves it for storage and future use. Not just tasty but nutritious too.

VITAMINS:  Smoked salmon possesses many of the vitamins required in a healthy diet. A single 3 oz. serving provides vitamin B12 at 2.8 mg or more than 100 percent, niacin at 4 mg or around 35 percent, vitamin B6 at 0.2 mg or 15 percent and pantothenic acid at 0.7 mg or 14 percent.

Lower amounts of other vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin E, thiamin and riboflavin.

MINERALS: The same serving of smoked salmon also provides essential minerals. These include selenium at 27.5 mcg or 50 percent, copper at 0.2 mg or 22 percent, and phosphorus at 139 mg or 20 percent of the daily required intake. It also includes smaller amounts of other minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc or magnesium.

SALMON MOUSSE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100gms cream cheese (softened)
  • 8 slices of smoked salmon
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Sprig of dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 spring onion stalk
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

METHOD: Clean and trim salmon slices.

Put all ingredients in a bowl.

Mix until smooth in a food processor.

Season the mixture.

Cover and chill for at least r a half hour, so the flavours can marry .

Top with paprika and chopped green onions.

Serve with wedge of lemon and olive oil drizzle.

SALMON NICOISE SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices of salmon smoked
  • 1 artichoke grilled
  • 50gm diced capsicum
  • 50gm diced cucumber
  • 50gm diced tomatoes
  • 25gm celery stick diced
  • Bunch of mix lettuce leaves
  • Bunch of mix lettuce leaves
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 15ml olive oil
  • A pinch of mustard powder
  • 5gms minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A pinch of oregano
  • 6 olives

METHOD:

Mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, pepper, mustard powder, oregano and make dressing and refrigerate. Keep the mix lettuce in bowl. Add the vegetables, add the salmon slices.

Pour 2 tbsp of dressing over ingredients and mix it properly, add olives.

Cut one artichoke into two and grill it.

Keep on top and serve.

SMOKED SALMON CIGARS WITH CHEESE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices of smoked salmon
  • 50gm Amul cheese spread
  • 50gm cream cheese
  • 6 pickled onions
  • 8 caper berries
  • 2 chopped gherkins
  • Bunch of mix lettuce
  • Sprigs of dill
  • Toasted brioche
  • 2gm pepper powder
  • 10 ml olive oil

METHOD:

Cream together the cheese spread and cream cheese in a bowl.

Spread the cheese mixture on the slices, add the chopped gherkins, add some chopped dill, sprinkle pepper powder.

Roll it tightly into a cigar shape.

Place it on top of a toasted brioche bread.

Place it along some lettuce leaves.

Add the capers and pickled onion and drizzle with olive oil.

Garnish with some sprigs of dill leaves.

The author is Sous Chef at Vivanta By Taj -Malabar , Kochi.

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