Friday, May 20, 2011

Homemade Smoked Salmon

I know that smoked salmon is an acquired taste. I definitely didn't grow up with it, but I married into a Russian-Jewish family and learned to love it! My husband was born in Moscow and immigrated to Boston when he was six years old. His parents, Ed and Tanya, are excellent cooks and have taught me how to make some delicious Russian dishes like Stuffed Cabbage, Stuffed Peppers, Tschi Soup (Cabbage soup) and Salad Olivier. These are all some of my husband's favorite dishes. Ed and Tanya are known for figuring out how to make everything on their own. They are very frugal and would tell you that it tastes better when they make it anyway - and they are right!

When we visit them on Cape Cod, there are a few things our family really looks forward to eating. One of them is smoked salmon. Of course, they make it themselves. My middle son, Camden, especially loves it and when I make baked salmon he always asks me if it's "old" or not. That is his interesting interpretation of what smoked salmon is?

I scored some salmon at BJ's this week and it was too much for one dinner, so I called my father-in-law to find out how to make it "old". I was excited to surprise Cam. It was so easy and we had it for breakfast this morning. Camden was indeed very excited. He even asked if he could take it for snack to school, but I already had yogurt packed:)

Homemade Lox a.k.a. Smoked Salmon without a smoker

Cut your raw salmon into pieces about the size of a personal dinner portion
Mix the following in a bowl or bag:
3 parts salt
2 parts sugar
Put the salmon pieces in a shallow pan or dish
Coat them with a thick coating of the above salt/sugar mixture, flip & coat the other side
Cover the pan with aluminum foil
Place in fridge for 2-3 days
Flip the salmon every morning and night
After 2-3 days, take out the salmon pieces. Slice one piece into thin slices, wrap & refrigerate. Wrap the other pieces in plastic wrap & aluminum foil & place in the freezer. Thaw as needed.

Ed, my FIL told me they don't usually rinse theirs when it is ready. My husband said it was too salty for him, so I gave ours a quick rinse. Ed also said they let theirs "cure" at room temperature for 1-2 days. I got food safety certified this year for my bakery by taking an 8 hour course on food borne illness, so I had a hard time leaving it at room temp. I just put mine in the fridge so I wouldn't worry about it.

It was DELICIOUS! We enjoyed it this morning on some buttered toast.  

*Money saving tip: Ed said they have also done the same recipe with Steel Head Trout, which is cheaper than Salmon & also a nice red/pink fish. I will try this next time.

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