Smoked Salmon “Oslo” with a Potato Beet and Cherry Salad

Preparing the fish

1.5 fresh whole salmon

Use only fresh salmon or salmon that was frozen immediately after catching and thawed just before cooking. Rinse the salmon in fresh water and trim all loose pieces and bones properly.  You can leave the skin on or removed it as you desire. I prefer leaving it on as it can be easily removed after the smoking process.

Brine the fish
  • 950 l water
  • 115g salt
  • 115g sugar
  • 90 ml vegetable stock
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbs. pickling spice
  • 1/4 Tsp. lemon pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Fresh dill


Mix all the ingredients except the fresh dill in a large glass, plastic or ceramic bowl or vessel, approx. 4 inches deep that will hold your fish until sugar and salt have dissolved. Do not use metal or wood containers for brining.

Place the fish in the brine solution ensuring that all pieces are completely submerged. Cover well and make sure the fish pieces stay covered in the brine solution. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours.

Remove the fish from the brine and place it on elevated racks for drying prior to smoking. I personally found it easiest to use the rack on our kettle barbecue. A good tip is to slightly oil the racks to avoid the fish sticking onto the rack. Place the fish in a cool breezy place and cover loosely to protect from insects. I placed the kettle barbecue outside and let the fresh air do it’s wonder. Leave for an hour. You will notice a thin glaze, which is called a pellicle, form on the fish The pellicle helps the fish to develop color and flavor as it is smoking. It also helps keep in the juices and retain the firm texture of the fish as it is smoked.

Smoking the fish

Smoking fish can be accomplished in many different types of smoking equipment. I do not have a particular smoker so I improvised. I placed the fish covered with fresh dill in a bamboo steamer, which was placed on the rack of the kettle barbecue. Using cherry and apple wood and covering the barbecue, I was able to bring enough heat and smoke to cook the fish to perfection.

The temperature needs to come up to approx. 180 to 190 degrees C for the fish to be properly smoked. For a fish approx. 1 to 1.5 kg you’ll need about 2 to 3 hours. However, keep checking to make sure it does not overcook.

Smoked fish is done when it flakes easily while pressing it lightly with a knife or a fork. One can use an an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness too. Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Once the fish is ready, remove it and allow to cool of approx. 1.5 hours. Enjoy immediately or store wrapped in aluminum foil placed in air tight plastic bags.

Potato Beet and Cherry Salad

300g new potatoes, halved and steamed with skins on
2 beets (I used pre-cooked ones), quartered and sliced.150g cherries, pitted and halved.75g walnuts, roughly chopped.4-5 radish, sliced.100g snow peas, steamed.100g green peas, steamed.


Dressing

200g quark or sour cream
2 teaspoons mustard.1/4 cup vegetable stock.Olive oil, according to taste.Lemon vinegar, according to taste.Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper


Place all the vegetables, cherries and nuts in a large clean bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk all the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad. Gently toss so that all the ingredients are generously coated with the dressing. Leave for 30 minutes for flavors to combine and mingle with each other.

Break up the smoked salmon and serve over the salad. Perfect with this is some Norwegian flatbread or rustic bread.
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