Cold smoking salmon is a method that is often out of reach for most. The cold smoking set up involves smoking the fish at low temperature for a long period of time (like 2-3 days). Cold smoking imparts that coveted smoke flavor to the fish. Cold smoking allows the fish to dry and take on a prosciutto like texture.
While visiting Montreal this summer we discovered a new more kitchen friendly method for creating an amazingly flavorful and delicious looking Cold “Smoked” Salmon. This method is also quite safe as everything happens under refrigeration and the fish is not exposed to high temperatures.
This recipe came from our friend Yan Garzon of Les Instruments Testek
The recipe for the cure was very simple:
500 gr of coarse salt
-500 gr of brown sugar
– 20 gr of spices of your choice (Montreal steak seasoning finely ground)
-sweet ground paprika (enough to cover de filet)
-10 gr of ground black pepper
One interesting thing is that the Montreal seasoning which is marketed mainly for steak, actually contains a perfect mix of spices traditionally suited for salmon:
Here is the Montreal seasoning recipe:
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp crushed coriander
1 tsp dill
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
We prepared more cure than was needed for this particular cure and did a little experiment creating four different recipes for Cold “Smoked” Salmon:
We did a cure in 4 different ratios of cure/fish by weight: 5%, 10%, 25% and 50%
The basic method was as follows:
Mix all of these together and keep in a Ziploc bag or Mason jar.
1-cover the filet with some paprika that you sprinkle on it. Purpose is to get a nice red colored finish product:
2-Use a big Ziploc bag to fit your fish filet, and you can cut the filet in 2 or 4 part, as you wish to fit in your curing bag and after in the UMAI DRY bags.
3-Weigh the fish and put in the bag two table spoons of liquid smoke, and 50% of the fish weight of curing solution also. (we made 4 batches of various ratios)
4-toss the bag and the mix evenly so it covers the flesh part
5-Put in the fridge for 7 days, and turn it every day.
As you can see after a couple of days of curing the salt pulled out various amounts of water from the fish most being pulled out by the 50% cure ratio
6-After 7 days, take out of the ziplock bags and lightly rinse under fresh cold water, and dry with clean paper towel.
7-Vacuum seal in UMAI DRY Small Charcuterie Bag and keep in the fridge on a open wire rack for about 12 days. The fish must be elevated to allow airflow all the way around it to allow moisture to evaporate through the bag.
The UMAi Dry bags are special bags that allow the fish to dry in the refrigerator. The moisture loss will develop a flavor and texture of cold smoked salmon. The UMAi Dry bags are used mainly in Charcuterie and Salumi applications for creating capicola, bresaola, pancetta in a home refrigerator.
When the fish was fully cured and dried it has lost an average 35% of its original weight:
This product is very shelf stable when refrigerated and can last a couple of months if vacuum sealed in regular Foodsaver bags.