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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.       
 

Ingredients

  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

Preparation

  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.

Notes

  • 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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High Tea Sandwich Rolls


(serves 6)
The sandwich roll is simple yet elegant way of making canapés. There are several advantages to the sandwich roll.  Sandwich rolls are easier to make than fancy tower canapés. They don’t dirty your hands eating them. However you hold them you don’t have to worry about bits falling off. They are bite-sized. Less bread is exposed to air, reducing the amount of bread that dries as your sandwiches sit there waiting to be eaten. And you know what? Sandwich rolls just look nice.        
 

Ingredients Salmon Rolls

  1. Eggs (3)
  2. Smoked Salmon (100g)
  3. Anchovy in Oil (Small Tin)
  4. White Bread (12 Slices)
  5. Red Onion (1)
  6. Cucumber (1)
  7. Cream Cheese (200g)
  8. Guacamole (150g)
  9. Dill Weed.
  10. Nori Sheet (1, optional)
  11. Maple Syrup
  12. Cumin
  13. Mayonnaise

 

The Basics Basic Sandwich Roll

  1. Use white sandwich bread or yellow bread. Brown bread is harder and less malleable, not meant for rolling.
  2. As you can’t roll bread with crust, its best to use bread that is perfectly square or rectangular.
  3. Use bread that is fresh, that you just bought from the supermarket, not bread you have kept in the fridge for a week. Dry bread will be too brittle to bend without cracking.
  4. After you have cut the crusts off, flatten each piece of bread individually. This is the secret to the rolled sandwich, squashing it with a rolling pin. You can also press down sequentially using the cheek of the blade of a large knife to achieve the same effect.
  5. Whatever you choose to put inside your sandwich must include a creamy spread like mayonnaise, Heinz sandwich spread, tahini, cream cheese, peanut butter, jam etc. as the binding agent. This will hold the roll in place.
  6. The simplest version consists of just a simple spread which you cover the entire piece of bread with – like the Curried Egg Salad Rolls below.
  7. For variety you can add slender sticks of cucumber or cheese for texture – like the Anchovy Infused Cream Cheese Rolls below.
  8. You cannot use whole sheets of meat or cheese and this will completely nullify the effect of the binding spread, unless you rolled them up and have them as the core. This method is shown in the Smoked Salmon Avocado Rolls at the bottom.
  9. The 3 varieties explained here are savoury, but you can make sweet sandwich rolls too. Dried apricot or fresh bananas can be used as the core for example.

Curried Egg Salad Rolls  Egg Sandwich

  1. Boil 3 eggs for 15 minutes. Begin with cold water so the eggs don’t crack and begin counting the time only after the water starts boiling. Peel after the eggs have cooled.
  2. Dice half a red onion and fry on low heat with a little oil till the onion is limp.
  3. Cut each egg in half and spoon the yolk into a bowl. Mash the yolk with 3T of mayonnaise.
  4. Add 0.5t cumin, 0.5t pepper and 2 pinches of salt.
  5. Dice the egg white and mix it into the bowl with the onion bits.
  6. Cut the crust off and then flatten 4 slices of bread.
  7. Spread the egg salad onto the bread as shown. You’ll need to leave one end empty as the whites make the egg salad a bit lumpy.
  8. Spread some plain mayonnaise onto the empty part to seal the roll.
  9. Roll the bread tightly (from the right in this picture).
  10. Slice each roll into 3. Use a gentle sawing motion and don’t press down on the knife.
  11. Rest the rolls on a plate with the edge at the bottom for a while before standing them up.

Anchovy Infused Cream Cheese RollsAncheese Sandwich

  1. Allow 200g of cream cheese to warm to room temperature. You can also use a short burst in the microwave oven.
  2. Dice the remaining 1/2 red onion into fine bits. The bits should be smaller than for the egg salad rolls, since you’ll be eating them raw. Reserve half of this for the smoked salmon rolls.
  3. Peel and cut a cucumber into thin strips as long as your bread. Try to avoid the seedy core as it is less crunchy. Slice more strips than you need as you’ll be using some for the smoked salmon rolls as well.
  4. Mash 2t of anchovy in the oil they came in.
  5. Mix the anchovy emulsion, 2t maple syrup and half of the onion bits into the soft cream cheese.
  6. Cut the crust off and then flatten 4 slices of bread.
  7. Spread the anchovy cheese mixture onto the bread. Add a few cucumber strips as shown. Be sure to leave one end empty.
  8. Roll the bread tightly (from the left in this picture). Slice each roll, following the instructions as per above.

Smoked Salmon Avocado RollsSalmon Sandwich

  1. Cut the smoked salmon into long strips and marinate with a little bit of oil, some black pepper and dill weed.
  2. Mix the remaining diced raw onion with 150g of guacamole or avocado dip. Avocado is soft even when cold so there is no need to let it warm up.
  3. Cut the crust off and then flatten 4 slices of bread.
  4. Spread the guacamole evenly onto your bread.
  5. Arrange pieces of smoked salmon with a few cucumber strips on one end as shown.
  6. Roll the bread tightly using the salmon as the core.
  7. Slice each roll, following the instructions as per before.

 

 

The Professional Look  Sushi Sandwich

  1. Even the best made sandwich rolls following all the rules of sandwich rolling might unroll a bit at the loose end.
  2. One way to prevent this is to apply a few bands of Nori (Japanese dried processed seaweed) before you cut your rolls as shown below. All you need to stick the ends of the Nori strips to each other is a dab of water. You can see the final result of banding in the photo right at the top.
  3. You can also cover the entire roll with Nori to create sandwich sushi, as shown on the right.
  4. All the your rolls will look alike if you cut them the same way. Slicing the rolls diagonally will give some variation to your sandwich rolls. This will help your guests distinguish between the different varieties that you made.
  5. Yellow bread is another option for differentiation.
  6. You can also give some colour to your sandwiches by dusting (the outside surface, and do this before you apply the spread) them with some fine coloured spices. Paprika for example will result in a light orangey coat.

Sandwich Platter Sandwich Banded

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Appetizers, English, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Smoked Salmon


(serves 2 full portions)
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, which is spaghetti with garlic and oil, is purportedly the most common pasta dish in Italy. That’s easy to understand why; it’s fast and easy to cook. Basic Spaghetti Aglio e Olio tastes good enough, but with some smoked salmon flakes added into the fray, it tastes even better. If you are into cream-less and cheese-less pasta, this is the recipe for you. And if you like it vegetarian too, this is possible (see notes). 
 

Ingredients Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Salmon

  1. Garlic (8 cloves = 0.5 bulb)
  2. Olive Oil (1/3 cup)
  3. Smoked Salmon (100g)
  4. Spaghetti (200g)
  5. Parsley (4T, chopped)
  6. Cognac

Preparation 

  1. A few hours or the night before, slice your garlic into thin 1 mm pieces. Soak the slices in 1/3 cup of olive oil. This is secret No.1, infusing the oil with garlic ahead of time.
  2. Boil a pot of water for the pasta, with 1t of salt and a dash of olive oil.
  3. If you are using fresh parsley (Italian is best) chop it into fine bits at this stage.
  4. Roll up 100g of smoked salmon and slice the roll once lengthwise to halve the roll, then breadthwise into thin slivers. Soak the salmon in 1/3 cup of water laced with 1T cognac. This is secret No.2, changing the water into brine using the smoked salmon.
  5. Put 200g of spaghetti into the pot of boiling water.
  6. In a pan, heat the garlic and oil on low heat. While the oil is heating up, take the time to arrange the garlic pieces so they don’t stack. When the thinner pieces start to brown, perhaps after 3 minutes, turn the heat off. The garlic will continue to get darker for a while and you don’t want it to get burnt.
  7. When the pasta is half cooked (about 4 minutes, see how the timing matches with the garlic?), strain it and add it to the pan. With heat back on at medium, add the salmon brine, but without the salmon. Sprinkle in 3T of chopped parsley and some black pepper. Toss in the pan till the spaghetti is al dente and the water has dried up.
  8. Turn off the fire and immediately add the smoked salmon. Toss again to lightly cook the salmon and after checking for taste (taste pasta together with salmom, smoked salmon is salty), sprinkle on the right amount of salt to bring the dish to life.
  9. Plate and garnish with 1T more of chopped parsley. 

Notes

  • If you want to make plain Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, i.e. without the salmon, use 1/3 cup of water from the pasta pot instead. You’ll also need to add more salt at the end to compensate. 
  • Some people like to add a light sprinkle of chilli flakes. This is permissible. If you are doing so, remember to reduce the amount of black pepper accordingly.
  • Do not use parmigiano or another other cheese. This is an American bastardization and cheese is not allowed – not unless you call the result Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Cheese.
  • I usually use 80g of pasta per person but this is a relatively light dish and 100g is more appropriate for a main course.
  • Reduce the olive oil to 1/4 cup if you want a lighter pasta. 
 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Italian, Main Courses, Pasta, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Penne with Smoked Salmon, in Dill Cream


(serves 3)
If there is one herb that brings out the best in smoked salmon, it is dill weed. So why not use them together in a pasta sauce? This is a simple, yet delightful pasta dish, ideal for first timers and people comfortable in the kitchen alike. I’ve arranged the recipe so you can cook the pasta and the sauce at the same time, so you should be able to make it in under twenty minutes.

Ingredients

  1. Penne Pasta (3 cups)
  2. Smoked Salmon (200 g)
  3. Cream (1 cup)
  4. Grana Padano (3T)
  5. Garlic (2 cloves)
  6. Dill Weed (3t)
  7. Brandy

Preparation

  1. Put a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. Then peel and press your 2 garlic cloves. 
  2. Next, you need to flake the smoked salmon. Stack your smoked salmon pieces in 3s and roll them up.  Cut each roll lengthwise once and then proceed to slice the rolls into thin pieces.
  3. In a pot (or frying pan if you have a big one), fry the salmon in 3T of olive oil, doing your best to smash the pieces into flakes (with a wooden spatula). This should take a minute or so once the oil is hot. – By now your water should be boiling and you can put your penne into the water.
  4. With the fire still going, add 1 cup of cream and 2t of dill weed to the salmon. Cook for another minute. To round off the sauce, add 1t sugar, the pressed garlic (1 heaped t or so) and 4T brandy before you turn off the heat.
  5. Grate some Grana Padano into a fine shaving. You should end up with 3T of grated cheese.
  6. You should cook your pasta until it is still hard but no longer powdery when bitten. Penne takes longer to cook than most other pasta so this should take about 7 minutes, but will depend on each particular brand.
  7. When the penne is ‘done’ , drain it and then add it to the sauce in the pot. Continue to cook the pasta in the pot until it is al dente, or as soft as you like. If it looks like the sauce is drying up from the heat, add a bit of water. You may need to do this a few times.
  8. With the fire off, stir in your grated cheese till it melts and then divide onto your serving dishes. As a final touch, sprinkle lightly with black pepper and 1 further t of Dill weed. 

Notes

  • If you are into drinking, add the brandy at the end so the alcohol doesn’t evaporate.
  • One of the key secrets in making pasta dishes is to undercook and do the final softening in the sauce itself. This allows the pasta to capture flavour from the sauce and also keeps the temperature from falling before you serve.
  • This recipe calls for Grana Padano as it is the mildest of the grated cheeses. Although you are using only a little cheese, if you use a stonger grating cheese, the smell may overpower the primary flavour.
  • You can use Rigatoni if you don’t have any Penne handy but the 3 cups amount is for Penne.  With the bigger tubes, you’ll need a ‘larger’ amount.  I guess thats why some people use the weight rather than volume?
 
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Posted by on December 10, 2009 in Italian, Main Courses, Pasta, Recipe

 

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