Smoked Salmon for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Something New for the Feast of the Fishes

feast of the fishes, christmas eve dinnerThe Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian tradition that includes seven different dishes featuring seafood. Though the seafood and preparation methods may vary by family, the results are usually quite delicious. Anyone who appreciates the taste of a grilled meal will love this recipe for smoked salmon featuring apples, hazelnuts, greens, and dried cherries, straight from chef Bobby Flay.

Salmon Ingredients:

• One 3 to 3 ½-pound salmon fillet, center-cut, with skin on and pin bones removed
• ½ cup salt
• 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed

Salad Ingredients:

• 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced thinly
• 4 ounces baby greens
• ½ small white onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
• ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
• ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
• ¼ cup dried cherries
• ¼ cup canola oil
• 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
• 2 teaspoons clover honey
• Black pepper
• Salt

Step 1: In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, peppercorns, and salt.

Step 2: Break off a piece of wide aluminum foil that is longer than the length of the salmon fillet. Line it with plastic wrap. Sprinkle half of the sugar-salt mixture onto the plastic wrap and lay the salmon fillet on it. Sprinkle remaining mixture on top of the fillet. Wrap the plastic wrap and foil around the fillet, crimping edges together tightly. Place the wrapped fillet on a baking sheet featuring sides and put another baking sheet on top. Place a heavy object like a brick on top and refrigerate the fillet for 24 hours to cure it.

Step 3: Unwrap salmon and rinse it with cold water to remove the curing mixture. Use paper towels to pat the fillet dry. Place the fillet in a cool, dry location (do not refrigerate) until the salmon surface is matte and dry. This will take 1 to 3 hours, determined by humidity level. Use a fan to speed this process, if desired.

Step 4: Soak 2 cups of alder wood chips in some water for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Step 5: Follow the grill manufacturer instructions for use as a smoker. This may require inserting a drip pan containing some water on the bottom grate and using the indirect grilling temperature. Place drained wood chips on hot coals and put the cooking grate on top. Let smoke build, adjusting temperature and vents as recommended by the manufacturer.

Step 6: Place the salmon on the grill with its skin side down on the grate. Adjust heat for temperature maintenance, smoking the fillet until the thickest portion reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit, which should take approximately 1 hours. Serve immediately or cool and store in refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days.

Step 7: Prepare the salad by whisking together the honey, mustard, and vinegar in a large bowl. Add pepper and salt to season. Whisk oil in slowly until it emulsifies. Add the apple, cherries, onion, hazelnuts, and greens, tossing ingredients to combine and coat. Add more salt and pepper to season, if desired.

Step 8: To serve, place a piece of salmon on each plate and top it with some salad.

*Photo Courtesy of Currybet via Creative Commons License

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