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smoked brined salmon September 9, 2009

Posted by marksun in seafood.
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This would be a prepare ahead kind of dish and not a last minute deal but the actual cooking time once the brining part is taken care of goes fast.

I got some nice coho salmon filets at Costco about 3 weeks ago.  I cooked one filet then and froze the other and made it yesterday – both times the same way, brined and smoked.  Came out really nice and the freeze did not hurt the fish at all the second time around.  I’ve got a 20 year old Camerons stovetop smoker which is a stainless steel deep rectangular pan with a slide on flat steel lid.  To smoke anything, toss in a few woodchips on the bare steel bottom, then the stainless drip pan (or aluminum foil if you lose the drip pan like me). The rack sits on the drip pan, with the salmon or whatever on the rack.   The idea is slow dry heat filled with aromatic wood smoke.  The drip pan prevents the chips from flashing into flame.  Wood smoked food is probably not the healthiest thing, but this is a once in a while deal, right?

Brine : 1/2 C sugar, 1/4 to 1/2 C hawaiian salt, about 1 qt of water, and put the fish in. I used a pyrex covered rectangular container and let the fish soak in the mixture about 18 hours – that is probably not too critical, but at least 6 hours would probably be the minimum.

Then the smoker goes on the stovetop on medium heat (3-4 0n my electric stovetop).  The fish cooks in dry heat – the woodchips add smoke and aroma  – salmon doesn’t need to go long.  I went about 20 minutes or so – maybe a little too long, but the fish was cooked through, flaky, firm.

These are the basics – there are many recipes available out there – search for “smoked brined salmon” or something like that.  This is a very nice way to prepare salmon and it goes well with rice, bread, a salad, and is a quick meal, provided the fish is already brined of course.