The food writer Tim Hayward messaged me on Twitter to offer me the facility of his smoking shed in his Camden back garden. I love smoked salmon, in fact most smoked foods, but didn’t know what it entailed.
“What do I do?” I asked Tim.
“Cure it, then bring it over for smoking overnight. I’ll vacuum pack it in the morning. Leave it for a week to fully absorb the flavours before serving” said Tim.
- I ordered a whole salmon, split into two filets.
- Mix up 3 cups of sel grise and 3 cups of sugar (which I had previously used to candy orange, lemon and lime peel, which still retained some citrus fruit flavours).
- Cover the bottom of a dish long enough to lay out the salmon, with half the sugar/salt mixture.
- Chop all the fresh herbs I had in the food processor (mostly tarragon, some basil, dill, thyme, and parsley).
- Spread half the herb mix on the salt/sugar mix in the dish.
- Lay the filets, skin side down on the salt/sugar mix.
- Cover the top of the filets with the herb mix and salt/sugar mix.
- Place another dish on top, weighing it down with cans.
- Leave in the fridge for 12 hours,
- After 12 hours, take off the weighted dish,
- Scrape away the salt/sugar/herb mix to one side and drain off some off the liquid
- Turn over the filets (you will notice they are stiff now) and cover the exposed side with the reserved herb/sugar/salt mix.
- Replace the weighted dish and leave for another 12 hours.
- After a 24 hour cure (although I left mine for 48 hours so I guess it doesn’t matter if you do it a bit longer), remove the filets and wash off the mixture.
- Pat dry with a non fluffy tea towel.
- Drive to Tim Hayward’s house
Tim has a little shed in his back garden with a little smoking machine attached. You put ‘tablets’ of compressed oak chippings in the machine which are heated up, the smoked from which is pumped into the shed.
“Did you scale it?” asked Tim, perplexed.“Yes”
- Knead the mixture together then
- Roll out onto a floured board about a centimeter thick
- Cut out little rounds with an egg cup
- Cook on a cast iron or thick bottomed frying pan on the simmering plate of the Aga or a low heat
- Rub a little butter on the warm pan
- Cook the scones until the texture stiffens, puffs a little and it colours each side to a light golden brown.