Tea Smoked Salmon
I love smoked salmon and got it into my head that I should smoke my own. Since I don’t have a smoker, I did a little online research and discovered several methods that don’t require purchasing any special equipment! I smoked this salmon in a dutch oven on my stove top and it turned out perfectly—amazingly tender, fragrant and flavorful.
1-1/2 wild salmon fillet (I used King salmon)
1/4 cup tea leaves (I used Rooibos)
1/2 cup uncooked rice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon anise, fennel and cardamom seeds, combined
1 teaspoon cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, combined
Several strips of lemon rinds
Pinch of saffron threads
Start out by mixing all of the smoking ingredients together (except for the salmon) in a small bowl. Next, sprinkle all sides of the salmon with course-ground sea salt.
Next, choose the pan. You can use any heat-resistant, oven-proof casserole or pot as long as it has a wire rack or grill that fits inside. (I used an enamel-lined cast iron dutch oven). To prepare the pan, line it with foil, using enough to extend off the sides in both directions so that you can later wrap it completely around the lid.
Place the smoking ingredients into the bottom of the foil-lined pan underneath the wire rack. Set the casserole over a medium/high temperature and heat until you see a bit of smoke rising from the center of the smoking ingredients. Once it starts smoking, you can place the seasoned salmon—skin side down—on top of the grill or rack, close the casserole with its lid, and wrap the entire lid with the extended foil.
Turn the heat down to medium and let the fish cook for 15 minutes. I kept my kitchen window open and the exhaust fan running to ensure I didn’t set off my oh-so-sensitive smoke detector.
After 15 minutes, carefully remove the pan from the heat and allow it to rest (off the heat, but still covered) for 10-12 more minutes. Then, very carefully undo the foil from the pan and lift the lid. Your salmon should be fragrant, juicy and smokey pink/brown.
Let the salmon sit open for a few minutes before carefully removing it to a prepared plate. Garnish with a few slices of lemon and the salmon is ready to serve.
To store, let the salmon cool completely before wrapping it in plastic and refrigerating. It should keep for 2-3 days.
Reference: I got my inspiration and methodology for this recipe from ShowFoodChef.
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