I love this French expression that makes “home-made” sound a lot more special… In Paris, they often print it in restaurant menus to indicate that some item – say, their country paté – is “fait maison.” In other words, unique. Special. Cannot get anywhere else. And that’s pretty much how I feel about smoked salmon made in our very own electric smoker. If you like the stuff available at the grocery store, you will flip for this. It is so much better, it doesn’t even seem like the same food item. I go as far as saying that buying an electric smoker is worth it just for smoking salmon. And steelhead trout.
SMOKED SALMON WITH BUTTERMILK DRESSING
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)
1 salmon fillet (about 4 pounds)
½ cup seafood dry rub
1 lemon, sliced
½ cup buttermilk dressing
for dry rub (makes more than you need):
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
for buttermilk dressing:
½ cup buttermilk
1/4 cup full-fat yogurt
Juice of half lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
Make the dry rub: In a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds, black peppercorns and cloves for 1 to 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly, then process it thoroughly in a spice grinder and transfer it to a small bowl. Add the paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Keep leftovers in a dark, dry place.
Soak 2 cups of wood chips in water for 15 to 30 minutes. Heat the smoker to 200F.
Pat the salmon dry and let it come to room temperature. Coat the salmon thoroughly in the dry rub and place it skin-side down on the grates. Scatter the lemon slices over the flesh. Smoke for about 1 hour, or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork. While the salmon smokes, prepare the buttermilk dressing.
Whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, and dill. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Serve the salmon with the buttermilk on the side, or drizzled all over. It’s your call…
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Since we acquired the smoker back in December last year, we’ve made this recipe (with or without the buttermilk dressing) countless times. We simply do not get tired of it. Often we will smoke two pieces, one we remove after 1 hour, and enjoy for dinner. The second piece we allow to smoke for one additional hour or even a little longer. That will be perfect to have over crackers with a bit of sour cream or cream cheese and capers. Or to make salmon rillettes. Or a smoked salmon quiche. Certain dogs love it too…
What makes the smoked salmon ‘fait maison’ so amazing is the texture. Simply cannot beat the texture. It melts in the mouth, and the smoky flavor is just perfect. Subtle. Delicious.
If you do not have a smoker, the closest approximation to this would be a method used by Jacques Pepin, in which you place the salmon on the dish it will be served and stick it in a very low-oven, 200F. You can check it out here. I would then make the same dry rub, but use smoked paprika instead.
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