It’s never too hot to grill (even in Texas). My husband and I recently tried our hand at smoking wild salmon, and I think it turned out pretty darn good…
Step 1 – If you’re going to be smoking fish at home, always start with a very fresh fillet. I used to work at a fish market, so I know how to finagle a fishmonger into giving me the freshest fillet in the market. Here’s how it works:
Monger: How may I help you today miss?
Savvy Customer: When did the sockeye arrive at the market?
SC: Do you have any whole fish? (Some whole fish have a longer shelf life than fillets.)
M: No, I’m sorry we’re sold out.
SC: No problem. These fillets here, do you process them in-house?
M: No, they arrive already filleted.
SC: I like the look of these in the case, but do you have any in the back that might be fresher?
M: Yes, as a matter of fact we do have some cases that arrived this morning. Let me just go to the back and fetch one for you.
SC: (smiling politely) Why thank you!
M: Here you go. You can see the harvest date right here (points to the unopened case with his index finger, opens the case, and removes a glistening, sweet-smelling fillet). How about this one?
SC: Perfect! Thanks for all your help! (secretly to herself: Damn I’m good.)
Step 2 – Rub skin-on fillet with “smoky” rub of choice and season lightly with sea salt. I used a Moroccan spice blend that my sister Caitlin brought home from her trip to Morocco last January. There’s no other way to describe it other than divine. I think I detect hints of saffron and pimentón, if you’d like to try to recreate it.
Step 3 – Prepare charcoal grill; simultaneously soak planks or logs of your choosing (cedar, pecan, mesquite, maple, etc.). Spread the hot coals evenly over the grill, then top the soaked planks. Spray the skin-side of the fillet and the grill grate liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Place the fillet in the center of the grill and close the lid. Hot-smoke for approximately 15 min. Do not over cook!
Step 4 – Move fish from grill to serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Step 4 – Slice salmon and serve with salsa verde (preferrably homemade) and cool Greek yogurt to temper the heat.
Recently Sarah and three colleagues from Quality Seafood Market attended the International Boston Seafood Show – the largest seafood trade show in North America. The exhibition hall was filled with 1700 vendor booths, all pushing their product or service. Here’s a list of some of Sarah’s favorite sites, flavors, and other experiences from Boston, Mass…
- CleanFish’s Amazone Paiche – This freshwater fish is native to the Amazon River. The wild populations are suffering from overfishing, but CleanFish has a more sustainable farm-raised product. Paiche actually has lungs and surfaces for air. Fish or mammal? Friend or food? Who cares! It’s delicious.
- Ballard Fish and Oyster Co. – No picture for this one. But pictures of raw oysters rarely do the bivalves justice. This shellfish purveyor had a raw bar set up in the exhibition hall where you could sample their Cheriton oysters and Littleneck clams. Highly recommended if you’re in Cheriton, VA and have access to these.
- The Shrimpster – Sadly, this chopper was not for sale. Sarah’s boss attempted to take a photo of Sarah next to the bike, but she was too tall to fit in the frame.
Wanna ride my Shrimpster?
- Loch Duart’s Kiln-roasted Salmon – The best smoked salmon we sampled at the entire show, and quite possibly the best smoked salmon Sarah’s ever sampled. Yes folks, you need to buy some.
- Pearl Reef Gulf Coast Oysters – Each pint of shucked oysters comes with a real live-cultured pearl. How cool is that? Eat enough oysters and you’ve got a necklace!
Pearl Reef Gulf Coast Oysters
- Giacomo’s Fried Calamari with “Hot Peppers”– We waited almost an hour outside Giacomo’s Ristorante (355 Hanover St Boston, MA), but as soon as we sank our teeth into this appetizer any lingering impatience was swept away. When Sarah asked the waitress what kind of peppers were served with the squid, she bluntly replied “hot ones.” The homemade marinara was heavenly, the staff all spoke to each other in Italian, and a “glass” of red wine would qualify as a half bottle in other establishments. Two words: go there.
Fried calamari at Giacomo's Ristorante in the North End
- Raw bar at the historic Union Street Oyster House – How neat to get to visit the oldest operating restaurant in America! You’d expect it to be cheesy (it wasn’t) and touristy (it sorta was), but the ambiance, the food, and the service were out of this world. A must visit.
The Union Street Oyster Bar
In addition to touring the floor, the Quality Seafood team also attended several educational seminars designed for industry professionals. You can read a recap of the panel “Restoring Consumer Confidence in Gulf Seafood” on the Quality Seafood Market blog.
The Quality Seafood Market delegation: Sarah Harper, Tom Cantu, Lee Chandler, and Carol Huntsberger with rep from Pacific Seafood Group