Types of smoked salmon
Below you’ll find definitions for the two main types of smoked salmon available, cold smoked, and hot smoked, salmon. The former is used in this recipe below.
Cold smoked salmon, often called lox (which is not always smoked), is smoked at cool temperatures ranging from 70˚F (21°C) to 90˚F (32°C). Before the fish is smoked, it’s cured in a salt brine, which has preservative and antiseptic properties. The curing and cool smoking process preserves the salmon's rich colour and gives the flesh a slightly firm, silky and appealing texture. Cold smoked salmon can be used in cooked dishes such as creamy pastas and quiche, but is most often used in cold preparations, such as sushi, bagels, wraps, tea sandwiches, canapés or served on its own with accompaniments such as capers, red onion, dill and rye bread.
Hot smoked salmon is smoked and fully cooked at higher temperatures ranging from 120˚F (49°C) to 180˚F (82°C). How long it is smoked, depends on how smoky tasting the producer wants the fish to be and how large the fish is. Salt and other flavourings such as sugar, spices and herbs, often in the form of brine, are used to boost flavour. Hot smoked salmon is much firmer in texture than cold smoked salmon and can be enjoyed as snack or appetizer on its own or with bread or crackers. It can be also be used in a range of cooked and uncooked dishes such as pasta, soup, quiche, sandwich fillings, salads and as a base for smoked salmon pate.
Smoked Salmon Tartare on Cucumber Rounds
This recipe is from my book Everyone Can Cook for Celebrations. It’s a significant spin on the classic dish beef tartare, where the raw meat is chopped and mixed with tangy flavorings and displayed in patty-like form on a plate. In this version, there are still tangy flavorings, but finely chopped, smoked salmon replaces the beef and an decedent appetizer created by spooning the tartare mixture on to palate-refreshing slices of cucumber.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: None
Makes: 20 pieces
1/4 lb (125 g) cold smoked salmon, finely chopped
3 Tbsp (45 mL) finely chopped red onion
1 Tbsp (15 mL) capers, finely chopped
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
• freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh dill
20 English cucumber slices, cut 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick
Place the salmon, onion, capers, oil, lemon juice, mustard, pepper and dill in a bowl and gently mix to combine. Use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop out some of the center portion of each cucumber slice. Mound 2 tsp (10 mL) of the smoked salmon tartare in the center of each cumber slice and arrange on a serving tray.
Eric’s options: These bites can be made several hours in advance; cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Instead of smoked salmon, use smoked tuna to make the tartare. You can find smoked tuna, usually frozen (thaw before using), at specialty seafood stores and some supermarkets.