The allure of smoked salmon is always present in my life. Relishing it aligns with one of my basic food philosophies that says, “I’d rather have a small amount of something wonderful than a whole lot of nothing special.” I’m pretty sure I heard that in a movie.
I try never to miss an opportunity to order smoked salmon at a restaurant, and never restrict its use at home to only holidays or appetizers. So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I have a Camerons stove-top smoker that I’m anxious to press into service.
The cost of that side of salmon moves me to research smoking technique and recipes so I have a strong shot at a great result. I decided to use Alton Brown’s Smoked Salmon recipe that uses a salt/sugar rub for 24 hours before smoking. I halved the measurements in the recipe as I was using only one salmon side, not two as the recipe calls for.
In a bowl I combined 1/2 C kosher salt with 1/4 C sugar and 1/4 C dark brown sugar with 1.5 tsp crushed black peppercorns. On a sheet of aluminum foil longer than the salmon, I placed a long piece of plastic wrap. I cut the salmon side in half crossways, then placed 1/3 of the salt/sugar rub on the wrap. I placed one salmon half skin side down on the plastic wrap. I sprinkled with 1/3 of the salt/sugar rub. I placed the other half side on top, skin sides together. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 of the rub.
Wrap the stacked salmon tightly with the plastic wrap/aluminum foil, and place on a tray or cookie sheet with sides. The recipe recommends weighing the salmon down with another tray and a heavy book, such as a phone book (for those of us who still have possession of one). I used a phone book (which I can no longer read) and the masterpiece of Italian cooking, The Silver Spoon, as weights.
Refrigerate for 12 hours, then turn and refrigerate for 12 hours more.
So far, so good. Tomorrow we smoke.