Smoked salmon. Cold-smoked or hot-smoked with a crispy skin
You will need a simple smoke generator for cold smoking. We recommend the ‘Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator’ and use fine wood smoking dust (fine wood dust doesn’t keep going out). www.souschef.co.uk stock a great selection of wood dust flavours. We would also recommend that you acquire a blow torch from your local DIY shop to really get your wood dust roaring, rather than the recommended candle. Oh and of course a rack of some sort to put your salmon on so smoke can permeate from all sides. A small cake cooling rack the length of a side of salmon is perfect.
- One whole side of salmon filleted, pin boned, scaled and trimmed
- 150 g cooking salt
- 2 teaspoons of cooking oil
To cure your salmon
Place the salmon skin-side-down on a tray that will fit into your fridge. Sprinkle all of the salt over the fish, making sure you sprinkle a smaller amount over the thinner tail end of the salmon. Cover the salmon and pop it into the fridge for four hours. After this time the salmon will be sufficiently cured, so remove the the fish from its pool of salty water and wash the salt off well with running water for at least three or four minutes.
Place a clean tea towel the size of your salmon fillet onto a tray and place your salmon skin-side-down onto the tea towel. Place another clean tea towel or a couple of new j-cloths on top of the salmon to dry off the flesh for five minutes or so. Don’t leave the towel or J cloths on for too long as they will stick to the fish.
Place your tray of salmon (with the towel still underneath) on the top shelf of your fridge, uncovered, to dry out overnight.
To cold smoke your salmon
Flip your chimney cowl upside down on the top of your chimney to block the smoke from escaping. Place a couple of logs or bricks in the middle of your oven about 30cm apart, just short of the length of your cooling rack.Brush the cooking oil over the salmon flesh. Smoke sticks to oil, this will help to give your salmon a stronger smoky flavour.
Place your salmon on to the cooling rack, and pop the rack in the oven across the logs or bricks. Fill your cold smoke generator with wood dust and light using the blow torch (I like to light it both ends. This gives out more smoke and lowers the odds of the wood dust going out in the oven).
Place the smoke generator in the oven and close the door with a slight gap so that oxygen can get in. Check the smoke generator every hour or so to make sure it hasn’t gone out and give it a gentle blow to liven it up if necessary.
Smoke your salmon for at least 4 hours for a mild smoky flavour or 6-8 hours for a much stronger smoky result.
To serve, slice thinly using a sharp thin-bladed knife.
Hot smoked crispy-skinned salmon
Cut your cold smoked salmon into portions and season with cracked black pepper and fennel seeds. Salt isn’t necessary as your salmon is cured in salt. Lightly oil an oven tray and place the fish flesh side down on your tray. You need a good flame going in your wood fired oven at approximately 350C to achieve a crispy skin. Once up to this heat, three to four minutes will cook your fish perfectly. The fish will still be slightly undercooked in the centre, but will carry on cooking when its out of the oven in its own heat.
And there you have the options of cold-smoked or hot-smoked. Both are delicious in a wood-fired oven and you can be sure to delight your friends when you told them you did it yourself…!