Smoked Salmon Pacific Northwest Style

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These days there is somewhat of a “doom and gloom” atmosphere here in Seattle, or should I say in all of the US? It seems like nature as well as human kind has gone on a rampage. As if its not enough that every day there are news about  hurricanes, flooding’s and earthquakes, taking thousand of peoples livelihoods and then human mankind has gone on a rampage lately themselves and likes to protest/complain against everybody and everything.

NFL players protesting police brutality and inequality of African American people, White Silicon males thinking that gender equality has gone to far and pledging for complete male separation – also called MGTOW (pronounced mig-tow) Men Going Their Own Way – a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else (mainly against women at the workplace), bad Trump press every single day, Britain exiting the European Unit (Brexit), in Germany the radical far right party AfD was now elected into Parliament – many saying a discontent about the chancellors immigration policy made this anti immigration Eurosceptic party the third largest party (12.6% votes) now entering the German Parliament and then we are also on the brink of a war with North Korea and just had the largest mass shooting in US history…..just to name a few of the issues currently going on in the world.

Seems like a lot of the anger comes from some underlying social inequality factor that the majority of Americans feel these days. The United States remains among the richest countries in the world. Yet despite its riches, in many areas the United States looks surprisingly, depressingly backward (Education, wage inequality, life expectancy, homelessness, child poverty, Energy and many more). I just read an article about the new reality of old age in America and that record numbers of Americans older than 65 are working — now nearly 1 in 5. That proportion has risen steadily over the past decade, and at a far faster rate than any other age group. Today, 9 million senior citizens work, compared with 4 million in 2000. Additionally Social Security benefits have lost about a third of their purchasing power since 2000.

That’s just one group of people who worked hard all their life and now in old age can’t even enjoy their golden years. Its a sad state of affairs currently in the world, everything and everybody these days seems to be disposable and corporate America has become obsessed with “shareholder value” which I think is one of the reasons why there is so much inequality in the world. Shareholder value is given a much higher priority than the other kinds of value that great companies create: Value for customers, value for employees, and value for society. Corporations have become so obsessed with near-term profit growth that they’re achieving it by underinvesting in the future. Wall Street is our new God. What is the solution? I wish I would know. I thought at least I need to write it down and let it sink in so that I will be reminded to think about what I personally can do to not become one of the complainers and Wall Street adoring money chasers.

Well I can’t close off  with this doom and gloom message, so how about some amazing nature displays that happened over the past months? We had a Solar Eclipse, one that we won’t see for another 100 years and also had an amazing display of the Aurora Borealis here in Seattle that I completely missed and are totally bumped out about – but thankfully I could grab some photos from other folks who have seen and recorded it here in Seattle and Everett.

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And besides those amazing natural wonders, Mike and I also got to enjoy some natural wonders in the form of fresh caught crabs

and Coho Salmon that I transformed into some amazing Smoked Salmon.Resized_20170930_083257Smoked Salmon Recipe:

I made smoked scrambled eggs with the smoked salmon and it was very tasty: 20170925_100702Brine:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1/3rd – 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (I press it through a garlic press)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salmon (skin on), cut into small pieces (1/4 pound each)

Maple Syrup or a mixture of brown sugar and honey

Directions: How to smoke salmon (adapted from https://honest-food.net/how-to-smoke-salmon-recipe/)20170924_103515

  1. Cure the Fish. Mix together the brine ingredients and place your fish in a non-reactive container (plastic or glass), cover and put in the refrigerator. This curing process eliminates some of the moisture from the inside of the fish while at the same time infusing it with salt, which will help preserve the salmon.
    You will need to cure your salmon at least 4 hours, even for thin fillets from trout or pink salmon. In my experience, large trout or char, as well as pink, sockeye and silver salmon need 8 hours. A really thick piece of king salmon might need as much as 36 hours in the brine. Never go more than 48 hours, however, or your fish will be too salty. Double the brine if it’s not enough to cover the fish.
  2. Dry the Fish. Take your fish out of the brine and pat it dry. Set the fillets on your cooling rack, skin side down. Ideally you’d do this right under a ceiling fan set on high, or outside in a cool, breezy place. By “cool” I mean 60°F or cooler. Let the fish dry for 2 to 4 hours (or up to overnight in the fridge). You want the surface of the fish to develop a shiny skin called a pellicle. This is one step many beginning smokers fail to do, but drying your cured, brined fish in a cool, breezy place is vital to properly smoking it. The pellicle, which is a thin, lacquer-like layer on top of the fish, seals it and offers a sticky surface for the smoke to adhere to. Don’t worry, the salt in the brine will protect your fish from spoilage. Once you have your pellicle, you can refrigerate your fish for a few hours and smoke it later if you’d like.
  3. Smoke your fish. Even though this is hot smoking, you still do not want high temperatures. Start with a small fire and work your way up as you go. It is important to bring the temperature up gradually or you will get that white albumin “bleed” on the meat. I can control my heat with the Bradley smoker, so I start the process at 120°F for 2 hours. Then I step up the heat to 140°F for another hour, then finish at 175°F for a final hour or two. NOTE: What my smoker is set at is not necessarily what the actual temperature is. Smoking is an art, not a science. To keep temperatures mild, always put water in your drip pan to keep the temperature down. If your smoker is very hot, put ice in the tray.
  4. Baste the Fish. After an hour in the smoker, baste the fish with the birch or maple syrup; do this every hour. This is a good way to brush away any albumin that might form. In most cases you will get a little. You just don’t want a ton of it. Even if you can’t control your temperature this precisely, you get the general idea. You goal should be an internal temperature of about 130°F to 140°F. (Incidentally, yes, I keep the smoke on the whole time. I don’t find this to be too much smoke, but if you want a lighter smoke, finish the salmon without smoke or in a 200°F oven.)
  5. You must be careful about your heat. Other than failing to dry your salmon long enough, the single biggest problem in smoking salmon is too high heat. If you’ve ever seen salmon “bleed” a white, creamy substance, that’s a protein called albumin. If you see lots of it, you’ve screwed up; a little is normal. Here’s what happens: If you cook a piece of salmon at too high a heat, the muscle fibers in the meat contract so violently that they extrude albumin, which immediately congeals on the surface of the fish. It’s ugly, and it also means your salmon will be drier than it could have been. You prevent this with a solidly formed pellicle, and by keeping your heat gentle. If you let your heat get away from you and you do get a white mess on your salmon, all is not lost. Just flake it out and make salmon salad with it: The mayonnaise in the salad will mask any dryness.
  6. Once your fish is smoked, let it rest on the cooling rack for an hour before you put it in the fridge. Once refrigerated and wrapped in plastic, smoked fish will keep for 10 days. If you vacuum-seal it, the fish will keep for up to 3 weeks. Or freeze your fish for up to a year.

I haven’t tried out this Smoked Salmon Chowder but it sounds and looks absolutely delicious: Smoked Salmon Chowder: http://littlespicejar.com/smoked-salmon-chowder/

Guten Appetit!20170925_100923

 

 

 

 

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