Sunday, January 11, 2009

Smoked Fish

I have wanted to smoke fish for ages now and thought I'd look around the house at what apparatus i could use to DIY a smoker, bingo!!!

My DIY Smoker

I used a cast iron skillet as my base, the surround from a spring form cake tin, an old cake airing rack, and a stainless steel bowl. I got some sawdust from BBQ's galore and i was smoking that afternoon!!

I had caught a Cobia and thought I'd smoke the belly flaps, as they couldn't really be used for a meal as they were smaller than all the other bits.

For smoking fish i read up a bit online and found the consistent thing that everyone does is soak the fillet in a brine solution, i always use a brine solution to clean my fillets as fresh water will significantly dry out the flesh, the rule of thumb i use is to ensure the water tastes as salty as the ocean, then apparently for smoking you add a tablespoon of brown sugar, i gather to combat the highly salty flavour produced from smoking. Soak for at least half an hour.

For the sawdust or smoking chips, these also need to be soaked in water. (apparently you can soak in wine or beer the list is endless depending on what you're smoking) This soaking prevents the smoke from burning out and encourages a nice smoulder.

Soaked sawdust in the skillet

I get the smoke going on the side burner whilst heating up the grill on the bbq for later use, as the lowest setting on the side burner still makes too much smoke at too high a temp so once smouldering, i keep a much steadier temp by moving it onto the grill plate.

Smoking fish (with the lid up for photo)

So once i have a nice smoulder, i place the brine soaked fillet skin down on the rack and cover with the lid, leave for about 20 minutes or i have found that once the fish stops 'sweating' and has a nice golden hue to it, its pretty much done.

Delicious golden smoked Cobia

I decided to crumble this piece into a salad and used a mustard dressing, it was sublime, great lunch or light dinner.

For the dressing;

1 Tablespoon of English mustard
1 teaspoon of balsamic
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons of good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

whisk it all together until it forms a nice smooth consistency

I also used some feta cheese which compliments the smokey flavour of the fish perfectly.

But you can use smoked fish for a bunch of stuff, sandwiches, on some crackers with some cream cheese, salads...


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