When I was in culinary school I learned this fantastic method for stove-top smoking. No special equipment needed and it works well for duck, chicken, salmon…you name it. I bought a beautiful piece of salmon this afternoon and I thought I’d smoke it for dinner.
It starts like this…put 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar in a dish and coat your skin-on salmon fillets with the mixture. Put it in the fridge and let it rest for about 45 minutes. Rinse the mixture off the fish and pat it very dry.
Next, line your heaviest wok with heavy duty foil, overhanging the sides 2-3 inches all around. Inside the wok, put about 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white rice, and which ever aromatics you want to infuse into your fish. Tonight I used lemon zest but black tea and star anise are two other favorites of mine. It will look this this:
Next, cover the wok tightly, wrapping the foil around the lid to be sure the seal is tight. Turn the heat on high. While you’re at it, turn your hood fan on high and open the windows-this baby will (and should) smoke! The sugar melts and begins to smoke like crazy. The rice is in there to ensure it doesn’t burn. Once you see a lot of smoke coming from the wok, 3-4 minutes later, take off the lid and make sure you have a molten mixture in the bottom. Now, put the fish on a small round rack that fits into your wok without touching the sugar/rice mixture. Place it in, cover the wok again, and wrap the lid with the foil. For every inch of thickness, your salmon will smoke 6-7 minutes. Here’s what you should see:
The fish is done when just a tiny bit of the opaque fat rises to the surface and a knife inserted into the center comes in and out with no resistance. Turn off the heat and remove the fish with a flat spatula, leaving the skin behind. It takes on a gorgeous amber hue and the smoke that infuses into the fish is amazing. Here’s what you’ll get:
We enjoyed every last morsel of ours with basmati rice and sauteed sugar snap peas. If you can wait, the fish is also great cold and served with bagels and cream cheese.
Very impressive and very tasty!