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Hot Smoked Salmon from the Woodfired Oven – and what to do with it

We love hot smoking salmon, and many other things, in the woodfired oven.

Takes a bit of practise but here’s what we do. Check it out and do let us know how you get on –

  • First we brine the salmon fillets in a mixture of half salt and half sugar. We do usually 4 x 150g fillets at a time so find a glass dish or a plastic container that they will fit in.
  • Make enough salt/sugar mixture to put one third in the bottom, then nestle the fillets on top of this and then cover the salmon with the rest of the mixture. We use regular table salt and demerara sugar but whatever you have to hand is fine.
  • Leave the container for an hour; if it’s hot weather put it in the fridge. We always put a timer on for this or it’s generally forgotten!
  • After the hour is up, rinse the salmon fillets under the cold tap. You should feel they have now firmed up.
  • Put them on a new J cloth on small board or tray and keep in the fridge until you are ready to smoke.

For the smoking –

  • Your oven wants to be around 120C so not very hot, with a bed of embers gently glowing.
  • Put some smoking chips in a smoke box – a metal lidded box with holes in the lid. We use maple and oak chips but experiment to see what you prefer.
  • Put the lid on the smoke box and nestle it right by the bed of embers so it’s starting to produce some smoke.
  • Your fish wants to be quite high so it’s sitting in the smoke. If it’s too low the smoke will just go straight up and bypass the fish so you won’t get much flavour. To do this we put the Tuscan grill on the oven, then a roasting tin or something similar on top of that and then a wire rack (like a cooling rack for baking) on top of that with the salmon fillets on.
  • Now leave the fish in the oven in the smoke with the door on but slightly ajar so the smoke can escape up the flue. Come back in about 30 minutes when the fish will be cooked and have taken on some colour and lots of flavour with the smoke.

Some serving ideas –

  • straight up on some fresh bread with mayo and a good squeeze of lemon, maybe a cornichon or 2.
  • whizzed up into paté with some cream cheese or creme fraiche.
  • flaked into pasta with creme fraiche, black pepper and fresh chives.
  • flaked into creamy scrambled eggs on toast for a gorgeous breakfast.
  • flaked over salad leaves with fresh fennel tops on top and some finely grated lime zest for a bit of zing.
  • warmed through and served as a main with new potatoes and steamed broccoli, maybe a side of hollandaise sauce for a luxurious twist.
  • flaked into kedgeree instead of smoked haddock.
  • in quiches or empanadas.

We cover hot smoking in our woodfired courses here at the cooking school so if you’d like to find out more in person, do join us. More info here.

Happy cooking

David and Holly

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