If I’m near a bagel shop, I’m hard-pressed to not snag a smoked salmon bagel. There’s something about the melty salty salmon combined with onions, whipped cream cheese and capers that gets me every time! Naturally, I said to myself recently, “I can do this at home”. Sure enough, I figured out a great process to make my own smoked fish that’s fresher and tastier than anything I’ve had before. This recent recipe was made with a steelhead trout fillet, but can be replicated with salmon as well.
COLD SMOKED SALMON OR STEELHEAD TROUT
- 2-3 Lbs. Salmon or Steelhead Fillet
- 1 1/2 Cups Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp. Black Pepper
- Inspect your fish for any pin bones and remove. Rinse fillet and dry completely with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Spread 1/3 of salt mixture in a glass baking dish to completely cover the bottom.
- Place fish on the salt mixture, skin-side down. Cover the fish with the remaining salt mixture and pat lightly to make sure it adheres.
- Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
- After curing, remove fish from fridge, take out of glass dish and rinse under cold water to remove salt mixture.
- Dry completely and place on paper towel on a cookie sheet. Put in fridge and allow to dry for 3-4 hours uncovered. Flesh will be firm and slightly tacky.
- Cold smoke fish with alder or another mild wood at 120 degrees for 90 minutes. I smoke mine over a foil pan filled with ice to prevent the fish from cooking. The goal is to impart the smoke flavor only.
- Remove from smoker and refrigerate. Slice thinly and serve. It will remain fresh in a ziplock bag for 7-10 days.
I love when a recipe relies on just a few ingredients, but tastes like a million bucks. The technique here isn’t difficult, but the result is delicious and better than most store-bought versions. Imagine the oohs and ahhs when you serve your homemade smoked salmon for your next brunch! Take the time and give it a try, I think you’ll love the process and I know you’ll love the end product. Dig in!