How to Make Smoked Salmon


Smoked salmon: a versatile and healthy ingredient

Smoked salmon is a tasty and sophisticated dish that has its roots in the ancient culinary tradition of the Nordic peoples. In the past, smoking was a method of preserving fish, allowing it to last longer. Today, this process is mainly used to enhance the flavor and texture of salmon.

Fish smoking is an ancient practice that dates back many centuries. Therefore, it is not possible to say exactly where smoked salmon originated, as it is a fish preservation technique that has been used in many parts of the world, especially in areas near the sea and rivers where fish were widely available.

However, it is safe to say that smoked salmon is a culinary specialty typical of northern regions, such as Scandinavia, Russia, and Alaska, where fresh fish was available in large quantities and where smoking was traditionally used to preserve fish during the winter months. Today, smoked salmon is enjoyed worldwide and is produced in many countries, such as Norway, Scotland, Canada, and the United States.

Smoked salmon can be used as an ingredient in various culinary preparations, such as appetizers, pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, and more. It is highly valued for its intense and distinctive flavor, as well as for its high nutritional quality, as it is rich in protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

How smoked salmon is made

Smoked salmon is prepared by smoking the fish to prolong its shelf life and improve its taste. This process involves passing the salmon through smoke produced by burning fine woods such as oak, alder, birch or willow. Smoking can be done either hot or cold, depending on the preference of the producer and the consumer.

Hot smoking is carried out at temperatures between 65°C and 80°C, and the process can last from a few hours to several days, depending on the intensity of smoking desired. Hot smoking gives the salmon a stronger and more intense flavor, as well as making it softer and easier to digest.

Cold smoking, on the other hand, takes place at temperatures between 20°C and 30°C, and can last from a few hours to several weeks. This type of smoking allows the salmon to be preserved for longer periods, keeping its flavor and texture intact. Cold smoking gives salmon a milder and lighter flavor than hot smoking.

To smoke salmon, it is necessary to use fine woods such as oak, birch, alder or willow. These woods give the fish its characteristic smoky flavor, making it even tastier and more appetizing. Before being smoked, salmon is usually marinated in a mixture of salt, sugar and spices, which gives the fish an even more intense and pleasant flavor.

Homemade smoked salmon

Making smoked salmon at home may seem like a complicated task, but with a little practice and patience, it is possible to get a high-quality product with an intense and distinctive flavor.

Let's start with the choice of fish, which is essential to achieve high-quality smoked salmon. It is preferable to choose a fresh fish that is even in size and shape to ensure even cooking. To prepare smoked salmon, it is necessary to clean and fillet the fish.

After that, we move on to the step of salting and marinating. There are two methods: dry brine and wet brine. The dry brine method involves applying a mixture of salt and sugar directly to the surface of the salmon. The fish is then left to rest for several hours, allowing the mixture to absorb moisture and flavor the meat. The wet brine method involves soaking the salmon in a solution of water, salt and sugar. The fish is then left to soak for several hours, until the meat has absorbed the brine and become flavorful.

Marinating will give the fish a more intense and tasty flavor, preparing it for the next step. For smoking, you can use a home smoker or a modified barbecue. For hot smoking, you must use woods such as oak, birch, or willow, which will give the salmon its characteristic smoky flavor. The woods should be soaked in water one hour before use to ensure even burning and controlled temperature.

After lighting the fire and placing the fish in the smoker, it is important to check the temperature and add fresh wood to maintain combustion. Hot smoking can last from 2 to 8 hours, depending on the intensity of smoking desired. Cold smoking, on the other hand, requires the use of a cold smoker or special device. The salmon must be kept at a temperature below 30°C to avoid cooking the fish. Cold smoking can last from 12 to 24 hours, depending on the desired texture and taste.

Gourmet recipes with smoked salmon

Smoked salmon carpaccio with avocado and grapefruit

A delicious combination of fresh and exotic flavors, this carpaccio combines the deliciousness of smoked salmon with the creaminess of avocado and the slight acidity of grapefruit. Preparation involves thinly slicing the salmon, seasoning with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and garnishing with avocado slices and grapefruit.

Blinis with smoked salmon, sour cream and dill

An elegant and refined appetizer, ideal for special occasions. Blinis, small Russian pancakes, are soft and tasty, perfect for stuffing with smoked salmon, a touch of sour cream and some fresh dill.

Smoked salmon and saffron risotto

A rich and flavorful dish that combines the delicacy of smoked salmon with the depth of saffron rice. Preparation involves sautéing onion, adding rice, toasting it, deglazing it with white wine and cooking it with broth, adding saffron and shredded smoked salmon just before finishing cooking.

Smoked salmon and goat cheese tartlets

These small tartlets are a delicious option for a gourmet lunch or appetizer. The crispy brisée pastry base pairs perfectly with the creamy goat cheese filling and the bold flavor of smoked salmon.

Smoked salmon salad with cantaloupe and arugula

A light and refreshing salad, perfect for the warm months. The sweetness of the melon pearls is combined with the freshness of the arugula and the flavor of the smoked salmon, creating a truly unique combination of flavors. Preparation involves cutting the salmon into strips, creating melon pearls with a teaspoon and combining them with the arugula, seasoning with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

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