Tag Archives: Salmon

Homemade Faux Smoked Salmon (i.e. without smoker)

(4 servings)
I recently confirmed that one can make Smoked Salmon without a smoker. The is a simple no fuss method of making smooth and luscious Smoked Salmon at home, and there is no need for brining either. It is essentially a variation of cured salmon fortified with a combination of dark muscovado sugar and a dash of liquid smoke. With its rich smoky flavour and deep colour, nobody will be able to tell that your smoked salmon isn’t smoked at all.       


  1. Salmon Fillet (300g)
  2. Coarse Sea Salt (1/2 cup)
  3. Dark Muscovado Sugar (1/4 cup)
  4. Dill Weed
  5. Whiskey
  6. Liquid Smoke


  1. Your salmon should be of the Supreme cut (thick boneless fillet) as opposed to a Darne (cross section with back bone and belly flaps). Don’t use fronzen salmon. Leave the skin on. Rinse the fillet and then pad it dry with kitchen towels. Next, marinate in a mixture of 1T whiskey, 1t liquid smoke and 1t chopped dill weed.
  2. While the fish is marinating, combine half a cup of coarse salt and a quarter cup of dark muscovado sugar. The muscavado is clumpy, so make sure they are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Open a square sheet of cling film on a cutting board and spoon half the salt/sugar mixture on to the middle in the shape of your fish, only slightly bigger.
  4. If your fillet is thin at one end cut it off and stack it on top to get as close to a rectangular block as possible. Place the salmon on the bed of salt and sugar skin side down and spoon any remaining marinade over the salmon. Top off with the remainder of the curing mixture.
  5. Wrap up the salmon and place in a glass, ceramic or plastic container (concentrated salt corrodes metal).
  6. Put the container in the fridge. Flip once after an hour and again every 6 to 12 hours. Some brine will seep out, which is desirable. Drain away any liquid (without unwrapping) each time you are flipping the wrapped package.
  7. For a relatively thinner slice of salmon (like the one I’ve used) allow the salmon to cure for 24 hours. If you are using a thicker slab of fish (which is preferable) leave the salmon to cure for 36 hours.
  8. After the curing is complete, unwrap and rinse the salmon thoroughly. The surface will appear rough and dry, don’t worry, after slicing this will not be noticeable. Pad the salmon dry with kitchen towels and leave uncovered in the fridge for an hour or so to dry before you slice it.
  9. To slice, place the block of ‘smoked’ salmon with skin down on the cutting board. Make a thin slice not quite to the skin and then a second slice all the way down and then carve the knife outward. If done right you should end up with something with a nice V shaped pattern. If there is a bulge at the joint slice lightly to flatten the slice. Repeat until all the salmon is butterflied so. Salt is a preservative but you should still keep the sliced salmon in the fridge wrapped in or covered with cling film until you intend to serve them.


  • Smoked Salmon is best served with capers, slices of red onion and creamed horseradish.
  • What is the difference between Smoked Salmon and Gravlax? Gravlax hails from Scandinavia and besides salt and sugar it is also cured with crushed pepper, juniper berries and a lot more dill and alcohol than this recipe uses. The salmon will usually be put under a weight to squeeze the water out, to compensate for the reduced salt in the curing mixture. Gravlax is normally marinated a further day in mixture of oil and dill whereas smoked salmon is smoked instead.
  • What is the difference between Smoked Salmon and Lox? Lox is a Jewish-American delicacy that brines salmon for an extended period of time which gives it a very intense and saltier taste, hence the need for cream cheese and bagels to go with it. Lox is also not smoked. Its long brining period means Lox can only be made from the fat belly parts of the salmon. Most of the Lox served in American delis is actually Smoked Salmon.
  • Remember to wash your hands before touching the fish after it is cured to extend the longevity of your smoked salmon. You might also wish to rinse the curing mixture off with cold boiled water instead of running tap water for the same reason. 
  • Muscovado sugar has an intense smoky molasses taste which complements the effect of the liquid smoke well. For best results don’t use any other type of sugar even if it is brown. Muscovado is moist and clumpy and comes in light and dark varieties. Look for it in the baking section of supermarkets and make sure you get the dark variety.  
  • The dill is to help more marinade cling to the fish since it is quite watery, so if you don’t like the taste of dill use another herb instead of just leaving it out altogether.




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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Appetizers, Recipe, Seafood


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Oven-Steamed Salmon in Miso

(serves 2)
Here we have a simple no fuss way to cook salmon by wrapping it in foil and steaming it in its own juices in the oven. Miso with its strong distinct flavor is one of the best ways to marinate meats which don’t absorb flavor easily, such as fish. Steaming is one of the best ways to cook salmon fillets as you don’t need to overcook the outside to ensure the middle is done. Put the two together and you have the trappings of a great salmon recipe. This recipe is also great for BBQ and toaster oven friendly as well.  

Ingredients Miso Salmon

  1. Salmon (Belly Fillet, 400g)
  2. Coriander (chopped, 1 cup)
  3. Miso
  4. Minced Garlic
  5. Sesame Oil (1/4 cup)
  6. Honey
  7. Cointreau


  1. Rinse and pat your salmon fillet dry with a kitchen towel. We want the belly cut (the type without a bone in the middle).
  2. Prepare 1 cup of chopped coriander. I usually just hold a bunch in hand and snip away with scissors from the top. We only want the leafy portion.
  3. Mix 1T of miso, 1T minced garlic, 1T Honey, 1T Cointreau and 1/2 t pepper with 1/4 cup sesame oil. When the mixture is even, mix in the chopped coriander.
  4. Place a large piece of foil on a plate. You can see from the photo it is the same plate the salmon is served on later. Spoon one third of the miso coriander mixture onto the foil as a base for your salmon.Salmon B4 After
  5. Position the salmon on the base. If you look carefully at the right side of the upper picture (you can click on photo to zoom in), I cut off the thinner tip of the fillet and stacked it back on in a way to make the thickness of the salmon even, like a brick.
  6. Spoon on the rest of the marinade, making sure some of the coriander adheres to the side. Wrap up the foil by rolling the long edges of the foil together, then crumpling in the two ends.
  7. Place the foil parcel in the fridge. You can cure the salmon overnight if you wish. The minimum curing time is 2 hours in the fridge plus one hour to warm up to room temperature.
  8. Preheat your oven to 180oC (350oF). Put the foil parcel in and turn the temperature down to 150oC (300oF). Bake for 8 minutes, 9 if you insist on having your salmon 100% cooked.
  9. Allow the parcel to rest for a further 5 min once removed from the oven. Then cut open and serve.


  • One of the purposes of  the coriander is to allow the marinade to adhere to the salmon instead of pooling at the bottom of the foil parcel. If you don’t like coriander, you will need to replace it with Italian parsley or something similar instead of just skipping it altogether.
  • For more information on Miso, refer to this page
  • If you are into steamed fish, have a look at my Cantonese style Steamed Snapper which uses the pan method.

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Toaster Oven Baked Salmon

(serves 2)
Baked Salmon is one of those dishes that is a good fit for the unique qualities of the toaster oven, allowing it to be cooked to tender perfection every time.
 This recipe is fuss free and fast, you can manage it in under 15 minutes if you are versed in the ways of the kitchen. The dish also comes complete with pasta and veggies cooked in the juices of the salmon, making it a complete meal in of itself. This recipe is for 2 servings but can easily be scaled down to 1.


  1. Salmon Fillet (2 belly fillets = 450g)
  2. Pasta (140g)
  3. Garlic (9 cloves = 3/4 bulb)
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Coriander Seed Powder
  6. Butter (30g)
  7. Misc Vegetables (optional)


  1. Put a few cups of water with 1t salt and a knob of butter to boil in a pan. You can also use a pot, but a pan means one less thing to wash up later. Also preheat the toaster oven, after you remove the baking tray.
  2. Peel the garlic and mince it through a garlic press. Wet the garlic with a touch of olive oil. I normally use bottled garlic (see notes), a great time saver.
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the salmon fillets, including the sides and wait 20 minutes for the par-curing to complete. Rinse the salt off, pad dry with paper towels and dust with black pepper and coriander seed powder.
  4. If you plan to have veggies, you can use practically any type, par boil them in the pan at this stage.
  5. Arrange the garlic on the tray in the shape of the fillets. Place the fillets on the garlic in the position shown in the picture below. Cover the fish with thin slices of butter.
  6. Put the tray into the (hot) toaster oven and readjust the dial to 5 minutes. When the toaster goes ding! leave the fish in for a further 5 minutes to slow cook.
  7. In the mean while, fish out the veggies and throw the pasta into the same boiling water. When the pasta is semi soft, drain the water away and turn off the heat, leaving the pasta in the pan.
  8. When the 10 minutes is up, temperarily place the salmon onto a plate. Mix 1T of mayo into the hot drippings of salmon oil, butter and garlic. Pour the mixture over the pasta in the pan. Fire up the pan and add the veggies.
  9. Put the salmon back on the now empty tray and use a kitchen torch or cigar lighter to crisp the skin evenly. Then put the whole thing back into the toaster to keep it warm.
  10. When the pan is searing hot, add 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry till the pasta is al dente and then plate the pasta together with the salmon.


  • THIS IS POST NO. 100.
  • Salmon comes in three cuts. Tail fillets, Darne cross sections, and Supreme thick boneless fillet. Use only Supreme cuts for this recipe and preferably don’t use salmon that has been frozen before.
  • Salmon is one of those special fish which you don’t have to fully cook, like beef steak. My 5+5 timing results in nice pink tender meat which sloughs off easily in layers that melt in your mouth. If you want it more well done, set the dial to 6 minutes.  
  • To ensure even cooking, position the salmon with the thin ends touching to the side, and the fish slightly towards the back of the tray. This is because the center and back of the toaster oven is always hotter.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen torch (and I strongly recommend you get one) your other alternative is to peel away the skin since it will not be cooked sufficiently on the thinner parts of the fish that are further from the heating element.
  • I keep a bottle of store bought minced garlic in oil in the fridge for recipes where minced garlic is cooked. Its perfect for this recipe. Or you can just make some of your own ahead of time.

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Dry Poached Salmon, with Leek Custard

(serves 6)
This is a dry poached recipe, that is to say the salmon is placed in zip-loc which is then boiled. This results in wonderfully tender pieces of salmon. The meat is then smothered in a mild custard which makes the tasting experience smoother than ever. Finally the dish is topped off with a wig of crispy fried leek, which lends just the right touch of  savoury bitterness.

Main Ingredients

  1. Salmon Fillet (500g)
  2. Large Leek (1)
  3. Custard (Bird’s) Powder (1T)
  4. Butter (50g)
  5. Milk (1 cup)
  6. Dill Weed (1T)
  7. Cumin (1t)
  8. Vegetable stock cube (0.5)
  9. Cognac (1T)
  10. Oil for deep frying


Preparation – Custard

  1. Make some instant stock using half a stock cube, one cup of hot water, 1t of cumin and 1T of dill weed (I also substitute/add chopped taragon or cilantro depending on my mood).
  2. Mix 1T of custard powder with 2T of cold milk  and 1t of sugar in a mixing bowl while heating up 1 cup of milk in the microwave till it is hot but not yet boiling. Slowly add the hot milk to the concentrated custard mixture while stirring. Lumps form easily if you do this too fast, and if you do discover lumps, force the whole mixture through a fine strainer.
  3. Cut the bottom one third of your leek into rings which are as thin as you can manage (see photo).  Put the thin rings aside for deep frying later. Cut the rest of the leek lengthwise and proceed to julienne the remainder of the stalk into thick half rings.
  4. Pan fry the half rings in some butter till they soften. Turn the fire down to minimum and add the custard, then lighten the custard by slowly stirring in your pre-prepared stock. Add 1T of cognac and some pepper,  taste and use additional seasoning if required. When the mixture is at the right consistancy, remove from heat and allow to cool. Sprinkle in some chopped parsley for a better appearance if you fancy.

Preparation – Salmon

  1. Start by putting a large pot of water to boil.
  2. If your salmon still has skin attached, cut that off first. Its alright to retain the strips of dark meat under ths skin. Next, cut the salmon into pieces which are 1/4 inch thick . Keep in mind how you wish to arrange the dish before proceeding with this step. For the example shown I used a campfire style arrangement to better house the custard, so I poached my salmon in 3 inch wide pieces, before cutting them into fingers at the end.
  3. Brush each piece of salmon on both sides with some melted butter. Arrange the fish inside one or more zip loc bags such that each piece of salmon has contact with both sides of the bag. Use thin bags, not the freezer type. Press out all the air before zipping up.
  4. Cook the fish by immersing the zip loc bag(s) in water at full boil. For best results, poach one bag at a time, making sure there is at least 10x more water than fish. Cover and turn off the heat immediately after the bag goes in. Leave it in for about 5 minutes (this really depends on the size of your fish pieces) and thereafter set them aside to cool, unopenned.
  5. Deep fry the thin leek rings till they start to go from yellow to brown. They will continue to darken even after you turn the fire off so don’t over do this. Cool in a strainer and not the oil itself or they won’t be crispy.
  6. Finally, retrieve your salmon from the zip loc(s) and cut/arrange as required. Spoon generous amounts of custard onto the fish and top off with the crispy leek. You can serve this dish refrigerated or at room temperature.


  • Why do I use the dry poach method for this recipe? I’ve tried poaching in water, poaching in court bullion, poaching in bacon and milk. In normal poaching, the liquid leaches away the taste and natural oils of the salmon unless you poach the entire fish with skin intact. On the other hand, if salmon is cooked with direct heat, like in a pan, the high heat will over harden the salmon flesh. Dry poaching is the best way by far.
  • If the campfire is too tedious, you can also try a lasagna style with the custard sandwiched between the salmon.
  • For poached fish, its paramount that you use fish that has never been frozen.Buy cuts of salmon fillet which are rectangular slabs (i.e. not the type with bone and stomach cavity. )  
  • On the stock. The best option actually would be to use Hon Dashi pellets (bonito flavour) but since not everyone knows where to get it, I’ve substituted a vegetable stock cube in the recipe. BTW, its ok to use a chicken cube too, but not beef, lamb etc.
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Posted by on May 19, 2010 in Appetizers, English, Seafood


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