15 October 2014

From the Chef ~ Salmon Dreams: Smoked Salmon Roe and Lox!

I recently got my hands on several fresh coho salmon and turned them into jewels to savor. I threw a couple in the smoker, then brined and cured some roe, and then vacuum packed a fish or two for "salmon dinners" this fall.  Next it was time to cure a bunch as savory lox; I've included a link below for an easy lox recipe I like.  We'll horse these down this winter drizzled with basil-scented olive oil and dusted with good Sicilian capers and fresh garden herbs like fennel and chives as seen on the antipasto plate above.  I then followed my whimsy and filled my smoker not once but twice with whole skeins of salmon roe.  Goodness, these turned out so, so good - my recipe is below for you to try.  I then threw some fillets on the grill for supper, grabbed a beverage, and called it a day.



Smoke Salmon Roe 

I had a hunch about smoked salmon roe.  I've cured it in years past, but something about the rich, ocean flavor of roe and alder smoke lurked in my imagination.  And the experiment paid off.  Here's my process:

1.  Soak one or up to 20 whole skeins of fresh salmon roe in a brine consisting of 1 gallon water (tap water is fine), 1 cup kosher salt, and 2 cups sugar.  Soak for 60 minutes; soak smaller skeins for 30 minutes. Pull from brine and let sit for 30-60 minutes.  

2.  Now fire up the smoker with alder chips.  Line the grates of your smoker with foil.  Smoke larger skeins for 90 minutes or slightly longer.  Again, smaller skeins need about half the time.  Pull from the smoker and enjoy.

Smoked roe is great with cream cheese or sour cream or marscapone (as seen above) and crackers or crusty bread.  Or how about with fresh pasta and marscapone or cream and maybe some fresh chopped chives.  Or try it simply over white rice to lengthen the flavor.  Avocado, herbs, cucumber, soy sauce, a little hot pepper or sweet red bell pepper all sound delicious to me. Or straight up with bourbon or beer or grappa or vecchia romagna or smokey tequila. Champagne or prosecco, too.  Enjoy!

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