Actually, it's steelhead, but who cares? It's a salmonid. It's smoked. It's yummy! And at $2.99 a pound, it's perfect! Wanna know how to make the simplest, yummiest smoked salmon? Read on!
Today is Sunday, and while Thing One and Thing Two are at church with their grandma, I cook. Like crazy. This is partially because our family diet consists mostly of homemade foods, but mostly, it's because I don't have to dodge flying objects or hurtling bodies while attempting to create culinary masterpieces, when the kids aren't home. Otherwise, it's like trying to cook in the middle of a rugby match! For me, Sundays are pure bliss. I'm a former cook/chef, and I love achieving that "flow" in my work. When I'm in my groove, wonderful things happen, in that kitchen.
So, first, an explanation of shioyaki- it's a Japanese technique that means "salt broil". It's a simple, very tasty preparation for fish- and unlike commercial smoked foods, there is no sugar involved. It also differs from brining the fish, making it faster. And the taste of your fish is going to shine! You only need two things to create shioyaki salmon- good-quality fish, and sea salt. That's it!
So grab a couple of sides of salmon (skin on!), and let's get started....
Take a double thickness of foil, and fold up the edges. Spray the foil with a bit of cooking spray, so that your fish doesn't stick. Plop a filet on there.
Now, you're going to salt both sides of the filet, and you're going to do it somewhat heavily. I know, it seems like a lot, but it's OK. Really.
If you're feeling like a bit of variety, throw a little dill on one of your filets- the salt draws the flavor out of the herbs, and into the fish. Now, let it set for at least an hour, at room temperature, but not longer than two hours. Here's what you're watching for: in the first half an hour or so, you're going to see the salt drawing out a lot of water from the fish- don't be alarmed, I promise- this fish is not going to be dry and tough! After the second half an hour, you're going to see the liquid start to disappear, right back into the fish. Yes, really. What's happening here is that your fish is brining itself, and all of that salt is going to evenly flavor the salmon.
Trust me, it will work.
Now you're going to prep your grill- if you're using a charcoal grill, like my trusty Weber Silver (no idea why they call it that- it's black, fer Pete's sake), you're going to want to do this with indirect heat. An easy way to do that is to take a couple of bricks, and use them to hold your coals to one side, like so:
Or you can always use a gas grill- just turn on one burner, and place your salmon on the other side, and use wood chips to make your smoke. Either way, some of these will enhance the flavor:
I prefer alder, but you can use whatever you like.
When the coals are ready, place your fish on the grill like so, throw a handful of wood chips on the coals, and get the lid on pronto! Over the course of the cooking (about 20 minutes, give or take a little), throw another handful on, once or twice, to really smoke it up. And when it's done, you will have this:
Gorgeous, delicious, hot-smoked salmon!
You can eat this right away, but if you can resist, the flavor will be even better the next day. Served chilled, as a whole filet, it's absolutely spectacular. Your Easter breakfast buffet wouldn't be complete without it, really.
My other project today has been making my semi-famous egg rolls (toldya I cook a LOT on Sundays), so that we can have a family favorite later this week, "Asian" Night. (Yeah, ethnically, we're not even close, but I'd rather have pseudo-Asian than authentic lutefisk or haggis, any night of the week!) This usually consists of the egg rolls, and my Very Garlic Broccoli Noodles. More on that in an upcoming post...
Have a lovely day!
Have a lovely day!