Soup and chowder sales always seem to pick up as the weather turns cooler on the coast. Anyone visiting the area can find a good array of seafood-based soups, stews and Cioppino. Lenore and I decided to introduce our smoked salmon chowder to the local scene with great success about four months ago and many people have asked for the recipe. The chowder recipe is here.
The key to any recipe is beginning with great ingredients and we begin our chowder with wild pacific salmon that we smoke in house.
Smoking isn’t really a big deal but many cooks are slightly intimidated. Let me walk you through our method:
Brine for Smoked Salmon
4 quarts water
1 quarts soy sauce
1 pounds light brown sugar (2 cups)
1/2 cups sea salt
6 pounds fresh wild king salmon
Combine water, soy, sugar and salt; mix well to dissolve; break down salmon and cut each side in half through the center segment. Cut each segment into smaller, manageable pieces about 4-6 ounce portions and place in brine for 70 minutes. Remove after 70 minutes and place on rack on sheet pan, and refrigerate unwrapped 2- 24 hours to continue curing.
To smoke: Prepare smoker pan (a foil disposable works here) using desired wood chips on bottom (about 1-2 cups only) and cookie rack over chips to raise fish above chips. Place salmon on rack. Place over gill or burner and turn to high heat. When chips begin to smoke, cover and start timer for 60 SECONDS, (one minute). Turn off heat and time for one additional minute.
Remove fish from pan and place into refrigerator uncovered for 2-24 hours before cooking or freezing. When ready to cook 4-6 ounce fillets, place onto sheet into 400 degree F preheated oven for 7-10 minutes. Fish is done when starts to part on sides when pinched, but remains together in center. Slightly “au point,” meaning to the point of just under. (About 138 F) Then some carry over cooking occurs to take it to the 140F required.