Everything You Need to Know About Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon has one of the most distinctive tastes in seafood cuisine. It is most likely due to the strong odor that smoking provides your meat. Smoked salmon may be prepared in many ways, like fried or grilled. This allows it to be part of a new dish, while keeping the distinctive smoked flavor in the fish. You can purchase pre made smoked salmon, but you may want to make your own in order to better satisfy your taste. The catch here is, you may not know how to get your desired flavor.
Below are some secrets for delicious and authentic smoked salmon:
The secret is the wood
Wood imparts the biggest flavor and scent to the smoked salmon. This means that the wood you select must have a good odor and flavor to be acceptable. Good examples from Europe include alder and oak, while in North America, fruit tree woods like apple or plum are more commonly used. Other wood may be used, but keep in mind that results may vary.
Freshness is the key
The salmon which you will use must be fresh for maximum quality. Not using a fresh salmon would be antithetical to smoking. Smoking is done to preserve the freshness of the salmon, so using salmon which is not fresh is not good. Good-quality salmon is preferably freshly caught. Salt could also be added to preserve freshness.
A good smoker guarantees freshness and safety
For any smoking endeavor to succeed, one must have a dedicated smoker. The smoker is any room or device which can accommodate the flame and the meat while not allowing them to be in contact with each other. This may range from a room dedicated to smoking to smaller grill-like contraptions which may or may not be powered by wood. It is also advised that a water container is available in the smoker to keep the fish moist.
You should also learn to distinguish between cool smoking and hot smoking. Cold smoking just adds flavor to the dish while hot smoking also cooks things to a certain extent. You should be able to know if your smoker is suited for one, or both applications. A thermostat or thermometer would be a great help in determining whether the temperature is just right for your desired operation. (The proper temperature for what you’re smoking will depend on what the item is. Unfortunately, that will have to be the topic for another article. Or consult a smoker cookbook.)
Pick your own herbs and spices
Herbs and spices of different sorts may be added to the water bath to provide additional flavor and odor to the smoked salmon. Be sure to choose these herbs and spices for their scent, rather than their flavor, since it would make more impact. Don’t be afraid to use strong and pungent scents, since the smoked smell may overpower any delicate scents.
Spices to add flavor may be added either before the curing process as marinate or after it, embedding spices like salt and pepper. It is best, however, to add it before so that the full flavor of the spices will be absorbed by your lovely smoked salmon.