Everything tastes better when you cook it yourself !!
If you love smoked salmon and
A.) you don't own a smoker
B.) you want to save $$ making it yourself
C.) you have great taste for good food
then you have arrived at the right place, TALLblondescookbook is all you will ever need. Especially when cooking something lovely for your friends.
The trick here, which isn't really a trick, is to expel all water out of the raw salmon while forcing flavor in the flesh and curing it to last a few weeks.
Wrapping the raw salmon fillet in plenty of salt while adding a heavy weight to press out the water is all you really need to know. The finesse and crown to your glory and bragging rights is to add great flavor at the same time.
Salmon fillet of any size you chose to work with is your foundation. Find a piece that is skinless, as thick as you can find and even thickness all around will be your base. You want a thick piece because your fillet will shrink by almost half.
- Liquid Smoke
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper, coarsely crushed
- Dark brown sugar
- Red pepper (optional)
- Dill (optional)
- Horseradish (optional)
- Plastic wrap
- Fine wire rack with pan to catch expelled juices
- Heavy gauge zip-lock bag
- Paper towels
Rinse you salmon with cool water and pat dry. Set out a sheet of plastic wrap and spread a 1/4-inch thick layer of 2/3 salt and 1/3 dark brown sugar the dimensions of your piece of fish. Brush on liquid smoke on both sides and sprinkle any other small granule flavor spices you enjoy so they stick to the flesh and flavor it while curing, set on top of the salt/sugar blend. Add a equal amount of the salt/sugar blend on top of the resting salmon covering fully to the edges all around. Add another sheet of plastic wrap to cover. DO NOT seal the two edges of the plastic so that the dripping water from the salmon can escape; in fact using scissors, trim plastic to a one-inch overhang. Place over a small gauge wire rack, place the elevated rack over a tray to catch the drippings, then on top add another baking sheet or wide bottom pot with weights such as canned foods, or a 5-pound bag of flour, etc to press out water.
Rest overnight in the refrigerator and in the morning dump out the drippings. If your salt/sugar blend has completely melted, make another batch and repeat the layering between two sheets of plastic wrap to continue to press out the water. Some fish have more or less water and this may need to be repeated a third time but rare.
After the second 24 hour press if you feel 90% of the water has been expelled, place cured salmon in a zip-lock bag and leave in the refrigerator for a week for the flavors to marinate into the flesh. After this one week rest, TALLBlonde likes to remove the cured salmon from the zip-lock bag, wrap in 10 sheets of paper towels on both sides and press again with weights to ensure the fish is completely dry. The texture you are looking for is a rubber tire. Still pliable but dry to the touch.
Most recipes say to rinse curing salt/sugar/spice coating and pat dry. TALLBlonde say NO! why remove all that flavor and get the fish wet again. Simply take a spoon or back of a dull knife and scrape off all the excess curing debris.
To store, wrap again in paper towels and place in a new zip-lock bag for up to two weeks, but you will eat it all within no time.
Serve in the usual manner by carefully slicing paper thin so it is transparent and topping a cream cheese covered toasted bagel sprinkled with finely diced red onion, capers, hot sauce, pickled dried figs, toasted almond slices, fresh tomato jam, fresh basil leaves, chopped hard boiled eggs, fresh dill, toasted sesame seeds, finely diced sweet pickles, crushed toasted hazel nuts, whatever you fancy.
Add it to Pasta Alfredo with a rich cheese sauce as a dinner entree...MMMmmmmmmm