Thursday, March 3, 2011

How To Make Tea Smoked Salmon - Swimming Up Screen -

Does anyone need to tell you how healthy and power-packed Salmon is with Protein, Omega 3 and Vitamin D for our bodies, brain function and structure? I've had Western and Eastern doctors confirm the importance of Salmon, and praise it as one of the best foods we can consume. Oddly enough, it's good for us AND it taste good. Tea Smoked Salmon

With so many easy ways to prepare Salmon (poaching, roasting, curing, frying it, making it into a salad, etc.), how could you ever get bored? One of my favorite preparations is a simple, in-house tea smoking. Ever since we played around with this method in Culinary School, I've been teaching and preaching about its fun and smokey goodness, mostly unsolicited. So, I thought it was about time I talked about it here in the blog. If I'm honest, I have to say I didn't used to be a fan of this fish. I realize now, that I had generally eaten it over-cooked, unseasoned, or probably just a mealy farmed and unfortunate version of this historical creature.

If you haven't tried Salmon this way (Tea Smoking), take a little time and follow this pictorial lesson. It makes a great family meal, a crowd impressing party platter, and you can prepare it a day or so ahead of time. In my How-To, I'm using an enamel covered iron casserole pan, but I've used Oven-proof casserole pots, cast-iron double skillets, and even thick baking pans.


Here are the ingredients:

1 Wild Salmon Fillet (I used 1 1/2 lbs here, but you can use less )
1/4 cup Tea Leaves (make it a smokey blend ie., Lapsang Souchong)
1/2 cup uncooked Rice
3 Tbls. Brown Sugar
Orange or Lemon Rind (1 large piece or several smaller)
Fresh Herbs as available (thyme, chives, oregano, etc)

Mix all the ingredients (except the Salmon), together in a bowl.

STEP 1) Season the Salmon with a rain of salt and fresh ground pepper on all sides.

STEP 2) Choose a heat resistant, oven proof casserole or pot, including a wire rack or grill that fits inside.

STEP 3) Line the pot (underneath the grill or rack) with Aluminum Foil, using enough to extend off the sides in both directions.

STEP 4) In the center (beneath the grill or rack) add the mixture of the smoking ingredients
STEP 5) Place the casserole over a Med/High temp and heat until you see a bit of smoke rising from the center of the smoking ingredients. Then place the seasoned Salmon (SKIN SIDE DOWN) on top of the grill or rack, close the casserole with its lid, and wrap the whole lid with the extended foil.
STEP 6) Turn the heat down to Med. and continue to cook for about 15 minutes (less if you used a smaller piece of Salmon). Carefully remove the whole pan from the heat and allow to rest (off the heat, but still covered) for 10-12 more minutes. Then, very carefully undo the foil from the pan and lift the lid. Your Salmon should be juicy, and smokey pink/brown.
STEP 7) Allow the Salmon to sit open for a few minutes before you gently remove it with a long fish spatula to a prepared plate.


A platter sprinkled with Mache Greens or Arugula and Lemon slices makes a great presentation. If you need to hold it for a day or so, allow it to cool completely, then wrap tight in plastic to hold in the refrigerator.


Remove the grill or rack to the sink for cleaning.
Fold up the used foil paper and TOSS IT AWAY - could that be any easier? Right?
One of the keys to the amazing smokey taste is using good tea leaves, and a nice dark flavor. You can also smoke the Salmon with lighter tea, even an Earl Grey or a Tisane with Lavender or Citrus if you want a flavor that makes a great Salmon Salad or Mousse.

Hope you have as much fun as I have doing this method. I'd love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by here.


Chef said...

mmmm. smokey fish. great post!

Anonymous said...

I love you! Great post! Signed, Tiger Eyes

Nancy said...

First off, love the shot of the salt raining down on the salmon - very cool!!!

I haven't thought of this since culinary school and will definitely be doing this soon given our obsession with salmon in this house!!

Unknown said...

mmm.... this recipe made my mouth water! I am definately going to try making this for your brother!

Vic said...

Amazingly smart method (I own a stove top smoker, but obviously one doesn't need one!) and the recipe looks delicious. Anxious to try it. Thanks very much!

Anonymous said...

I looked at a few techniques online but this is by far the simplest, best explained and most inspiring. I'm going to make it this weekend for friends, with a sauce that I already use - made with tons of chopped fresh dill, grain mustard, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and olive oil. Can't wait. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the recipe - I used it to smoke fish roe for taramasalata. Yummy. I shall be using this again. Thanks a lot, Kristelle.

cHaMeL30n said...

I came across this post trying to cure my craving for smoked salmon. Tried this recipe immediately after I got home from work, simple methods ... Just love it, you are amazing! Thanks so much, all the way from Malaysia :)

Anonymous said...

I have a large stainless steel wok with lid...what would be the easiest way to use this to smoke fish???

caribougrrl said...

I have been intrigued by tea-smoking for years, but have always been to intimidated to try it. But when I saw your step-by-step photos, it suddenly made sense. I've been smoking all sorts lately: fish, eggs, quail...

Thanks for making this look simple enough to try out!