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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Stovetop Smoking for Maple Smoked Salmon Rillettes

Inspiration:  Creating some recipes for the upcoming Maple Syrup Season in Quebec - Le temps des sucres.

Serve with a little hot red pepper jelly for colour and balance

I have always been a little intimidated by smoking food indoors but his stovetop smoking was incredibly easy and painless.  You will need a large pot with a tight fitting lid, a metal steamer basket or round rack to sit the fish on and some wood chips/shavings.  Be aware that some smoke will escape and you should have a strong vent system to pull the smoke out (I just left mine on high and cracked the window open during the process).

Time:  Marinating Salmon: 8 to 12 hours  -  Smoking salmon: 35 minutes  -  Rillettes prep:  10 minutes

Stovetop Smoking for Maple Smoked Salmon Rillettes: 

Makes 1 cup of rillettes - enough for 6 - 8 people as an appetizer.

  • 1 filet of organic or wild salmon (300 g - 2/3 lb)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) of water
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) of maple syrup
  • 15  black peppercorns
  • 2 -3 pods of green cardamon, gently crushed open with the back of your knife

How to smoke the salmon:

Start by placing the sea salt (1/4 cup -60ml), the water (1/2 cup - 120ml), the maple syrup (1/2 cup - 120ml), the black peppercorns (15) and the green cardamon pods (2 or 3) in a resealable plastic bag.  

Shake the bag gently to help dilute the salt.  Add the salmon filet, fold the bag to extract as much air as possible and seal.  Place on a flat surface in the refrigerator overnight to marinate in the brine, turning over at least once.  

After the salmon has marinated for 8 to 12 hours, remove it from the bag, discard the brining liquid and rinse the salmon under cold water.  Pat it dry with a clean dish towel.

Prepare the pot for smoking.  Place a square piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the pot.

 Add 2 generous tablespoons of wood chips/shavings (I used hickory). 

Add another square of aluminum foil to cover the wood chips and place the metal steamer basket or round rack on top.

Place the salmon on top of the rack, skin side down, and cover the pot with the lid.  

Create a seal with aluminum foil around the edge of the lid and pot to prevent smoke from escaping. 

Turn on your vent and place the pot over high heat for 5 minutes.  It will quickly begin to smoke.  Reduce the heat to medium and smoke for another 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the salmon to sit in the smoker for another 10 minutes. 

Remove the salmon from the pot,  checking to make sure it is cooked. - the inside flesh should be light pink and flaky throughout.  Allow to cool.

How to make the rillettes:    Makes 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) of Hellman's mayonnaise
  • 1.5t of maple syrup
  • 1 medium (2T) shallot, finely diced
  • 1 medium (2T) celery heart rib, finely diced
  • zest of 1 lemon (1t)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 300g - 2/3lb of hot smoked salmon, cooled
  • freshly ground pepper
Remove the skin from the salmon and gently scrape off the grey flesh in the centre of the filet.  

Shred the cooled smoked salmon in small pieces in a medium bowl.  Add the diced shallot (1 medium - 2T) and the diced celery rib (2T).

In another small bowl, mix the mayonnaise (1/4 cup - 60ml) the maple syrup (1.5 t) the lemon zest (1t) and the juice of half a lemon.  Stir to combine and add to the salmon mixture.  Cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Add some freshly ground pepper and serve with crackers of your choice.  Top with a little hot red pepper jelly for colour and enjoy!

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