Smoked Salmon en Croute

The Somerset smoking adventures continue…

Paid another flying visit to my friends in Somerset last weekend and was rewarded with a side of maple-smoked cold salmon.  I love the care packages I get to come home with…. they also sent me back with smoked cheese and butter… so I’m also working on a smoked cheese scones recipe.

They’ve upgraded the kit – the smoking bin now features a hot plate in place of the charcoal we were using. This allows for a more controlled temperature to smoulder the wood shavings.  It also means that we can start trialling hot-smoking!

After about two hours we were too hungry to wait any more so we pulled out the two sides of salmon we were hot-smoking and fried them instead.  Served with an “everything but the kitchen sink” salad and a potato salad, they were yummy.

We left the two sides of salmon that we were cold-smoking in the smoker all night, and pulled them out early the next morning.  The texture was right, but the flavour just wasn’t strong enough.  We suspect that the problem was that they’d only been brined for 3 hours… clearly we need to brine for longer.

Once home, I pondered recipes for a side of slightly smoked salmon.  Hannah, the awesome housemate, commented that her mum would do something with pastry and the idea for salmon en croute took root.

Cooking the salmon seemed to activate the smoked flavour – it came through much more strongly than when the fish was raw.  But the taste of salmon still came through, and it was perfectly cooked.  It took three of us three days to finish the meal, but it was worth it.  As good as it was when it was first pulled out of the oven, it was even better cold the next day!

Smoked Salmon en Croute
Makes: 6 portions  Takes: 1 hour

1 side of maple-smoked salmon
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 large florets of broccoli
salt & pepper to taste
200ml tablespoon crème fraiche
375g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
85g watercress

Place the onion and celery in a medium sized saucepan or frying pan and place over a medium heat.  Pour over the tablespoon of cooking oil.  Sauté lightly until the onion turns translucent.

Snip the tips of the broccoli curd off and into the pan, leaving the majority of the stems to be discarded.  Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the broccoli is just cooked.  Add the salt and pepper to the pan, followed by a tablespoon of crème fraiche.

Stir the crème fraiche through until it has fully mingled with the vegetables.  Remove from the heat and allow the filling to fully cool.

Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.  Roll out your pastry to a rough rectangle shape.  Score a deep line down the length of the salmon in the middle, then flip the salmon over so that it closes like a book.

Place the salmon just off to the centre of your rolled out pastry so that when it is closed it will be exactly in the middle.  Spoon the chilled filling along the length of the salmon on one of the sides, and then close the salmon over it.

Wrap the pastry around the salmon, crimping the ends and tucking the edges underneath.  Brush with the beaten egg to glaze.  Cover a large baking tray with greaseproof paper, and place the wrapped salmon on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden.  If the pastry starts to turn too brown, cover with tin foil.

Meanwhile, make a watercress sauce by blitzing the remaining crème fraiche in a food processor with the water cress.  Pour into a bowl and chill until the salmon is ready.

Serve the salmon hot, with steamed broccoli, garlic mushrooms and the watercress sauce.  Keep going back for leftovers until it’s all gone.


Roast Goa’uld

AKA oak-smoked pork loin.

I recently spent a weekend with some old friends in Somerset who have all the kit needed to hot and cold smoke food.  As an added bonus, they’re also accomplished wood-turners so they have large bags filled with shavings and tagged with delicious labels like maple, apple, and oak.  Fortunately it didn’t take much begging to persuade them to set everything up so we could play.

Blog Cold-smoker

After four hours of careful tending, the first batch of maple smoked goodies were ready.  That night we feasted on cheese, bread, pate and smoked mushrooms cooked in butter (the mushrooms were slightly disappointing).  The following day, we loaded up the smoker with oak shavings and more food, including a pork loin.

When the second batch was done, we decided to marinade the pork loin before cooking it.  After rooting around in their kitchen cupboards, I assembled a batch of ingredients and went to work.  Once the marinade was ready, we realised that the pork had a distinct resemblance to a Goa’uld… complete with mouth, eye, fins, and tail.  Blog - Goa'uld uncooked

That Goa’uld spent the rest of the day and night in the fridge, being shaken every time one of us passed through the kitchen.  Meanwhile we learnt that camembert take to smoke well and brie prefers maple smoke over oak.  I thought that the oak worked better on cheddar, but my friends preferred maple.  Red Leicester on the other hand was delicious with either smoke, as was the bacon.  The maple smoked sausages were brilliant and my friends let me take the oak smoked ones home, where they made a truly spectacular toad-in-the-hole.

The next day we roasted the pork loin for 40 minutes at 180C, spooning the marinade over it halfway through, rested it, and then carved it up.  Now I’m not the biggest fan of barbeque, but this was probably the best barbeque I’ve ever tasted.  Particularly since it was roasted not barbequed!  Sweet and succulent, salty and smoky, the flavours mingled and lingered on the palate.  Definitely a recipe I’ll be making again.

Goa’uld Marinade
1 oak-smoked pork loin
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Combine ingredients and refrigerate overnight.  Remove from fridge and allow meat 20 minutes to come to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.  Pour excess marinade into a bowl or jug and roast pork for 40 minutes, spooning over some of the reserved marinade halfway through.  Remove and rest for 5-10 minutes.  Carve and serve.