I’m a big fan of smoked salmon. Delicious with a fresh bagel, some cream cheese and a squeeze of lemon. Unfortunately, I live in a flat with no access to the sort of equipment required to cold smoke salmon. I do, however, have an oven, an oven tin with a grill rack and copious amounts of foil so I decided to make hot smoked salmon instead!
I was having a couple of friends over for some pre-Christmas food and drink. I thought I’d try something new and I’m glad I did! I couldn’t find a recipe which suited my needs properly so I cobbled together a few different ones.I found this recipe at honest-food.net which I used for the cure for the salmon.
Lucy had picked me up a side of salmon which weighed in at around 700g so I improvised a little with the measurements. I used about 1/4 cup of kosher salt and the same of brown sugar into around 1.5 litres of cool water. I put the salmon into this and left it in the fridge overnight (about 8 hours). In the morning, I washed the cure off the salmon and patted it dry, then I left it uncovered on the kitchen side on a rack for about 3 hours to help form the pellicle. This part is important as the smoke sticks to the pellicle increasing the flavour.
As the salmon was on the kitchen side, I prepared the oven tin by wrapping it in foil (this is mostly to protect the tin), coated the bottom in a layer of applewood chips and then put the grill rack in. I put water in the bottom of the tin to stop the wood burning too quickly. This is something I found was a good idea from a recipe for smoking wings at home.
Next step is to put the salmon on the rack and tightly cover the tin in foil so that the smoke doesn’t escape.
I put the tin in the middle of the oven at about 75-100 degrees C and left it there for a couple of hours before checking it and basting it with honey (I didn’t have any maple syrup).
This is where I found out that I put WAY too much water in there. There was no smoke from the wood chips, but plenty of steam! There was no turning back at this point so I tipped out all the water from the pan, recovered it with foil and put it back in the oven. I cranked the heat up to about 150 degrees C and left it for another 90 minutes before basting again and allowing it to rest before serving.
I was so grateful that I’d managed to salvage it and actually make something edible and really tasty!
I served it up with a warm potato salad which I got from a recipe from the Guardian.
I’m making hot smoked salmon again. Without a doubt. I’ve learnt some things though. Next time, I’m soaking the wood chips before hand instead of putting water in the tin. I think I might add some more aromatics to the cure to increase the flavour that penetrates the salmon. I’ll use maple syrup too as I think the flavour of it would work better with the salmon. I may even use different wood chips to see what difference this has to the taste.
If you’ve got the tools to do it, I highly recommend you try this too. It takes a bit of preparation and some patience but the results are so satisfying.