Smoked Salmon Salad

This is a delicious dish that can be served as a side, appetizer, or main course. It is warm enough to be served on colder days and light enough to be served at a summer dinner. The star of this dish is a beautiful fish that is delicately smoked so the natural sugars bring out a sweetness and fresh herbs lend an aromatic lift that entices your senses with mouth watering anticipation.

Since the fish is the star actor in this play, we will focus on that. I love to go and browse what the local fish monger has to offer in the way of salmon. They always have several options to choose from that range from a light, pale coral color to a deep reddish orange. I usually don’t go for the most expensive salmon, but not the cheapest one either. I want great flavor and firm muscle that won’t turn to mush and will hold it’s own against the smoke. I only go with a skin on fillet or a whole fish because the fat from the skin will aide in keeping the flesh moist during the smoke.

The rub!

This is a simple rub that will enhance the flavor of the fish without overpowering it. with just five simple ingredients it is easy to set up ahead of time so the flavors can marry together. the salt is very light in this rub because we want to bring a little seasoning to it but not pull too much moisture from the fish.

At least 24 hours before rubbing the fish:

  • 2 TBSP dry or fresh dill
  • 2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Fresh herb option:

  • 2 TBSP fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • i tsp black or white pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

I added a fresh herb option because it is very nice to crush these together with a mortar and pestle to create a paste and rub that into the fish.

Dry the flesh side with a clean tea towel or paper towel and apply the rub to only the one side. wrap and let rest in the fridge for 24 hours.

Set your smoker up with a drip pan on top of the grate with about 1 inch of water in it. preheat the smoker to 210ºF for at least 1/2 hour to ensure a stable heat. Lay the salmon skin side down on a separate grate and place it on top of the drip pan. This will keep the temperature stable near the meat and keep the chamber moist throughout the smoke. Smoke the fish undisturbed for 45 minutes and check for firmness. the flesh should be firm to the touch with a little flexibility. If it feels mushy, check back in another 15 minutes.

Smoked Salmon

Remove the fish on the grate to cool for at least 1/2 an hour before slicing. The fish will firm up a bit more on the rest and become a beautiful consistency the can be sliced thick or thin. I like to slice it thin at an angle and along the skin to clean it from the fish. Lay it on a bed of bitter mixed greens in a shingle presentation and drizzle balsamic glaze or a good quality balsamic vinegar lightly over the salad. Top with a chiffonade of basil to complete the dish!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Please don’t hesitate to leave comments and questions below.


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