A primer on smoked fish and why you should love it


Share
Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2012, 5:00 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
Several thousand years ago, people discovered that exposing fish to intense amounts of salt and smoke was a great way of preserving the catch for later.

Today, our smoking techniques are considerably more refined, and we do it more for flavor than as a means of preservation. And that makes it a shame more people don't think to reach for smoked fish as an effortless way to add gobs of flavor to the foods they love.

But first, a primer on smoked fish. There are two ways to smoke fish — cold and hot. Salmon, trout, haddock and mackerel are the most common choices.

In cold smoking, the fish are brined in a heavy salt solution, then exposed to cool smoke (85 F max) for up to several days, then frozen to kill parasites. Cold smoked fish — which is essentially raw — has a soft, delicate texture, an assertive saltiness and a pleasant, but not overwhelming, smoky flavor.

Hot smoked fish is more lightly brined, then smoked for a shorter time at a higher temperature (as high as 170 F), effectively cooking the fish. Hot smoking produces a fish with a more assertive smoky flavor and a meatier texture (though the lighter brine means it isn't as salty).

Both varieties often are seasoned, sometimes with just a bit of sugar, but also with black pepper, dill or other herbs.

As long as you keep in mind the differences in saltiness and smokiness, hot and cold smoked fish often can be used interchangeably in recipes. Generally, neither variety should be exposed to long cooking times, especially hot smoked fish, which already is cooked.

The exception to this is certain baked recipes, such as fishcakes and fish pot pies, which usually contain enough moisture to prevent the fish from getting tough.

Grocers generally sell a wide variety of both types of smoked fish. Salmon, for example, can be found with different seasonings and cuts, including thinly sliced, thick slabs and whole sides. Smoked salmon is particularly good for making dips and pates. When doing so, look for cheaper packages labeled "trimmings," which are small pieces. Thinly sliced salmon is delicious topped with poached eggs and fresh dill.

Hot smoked fish, such as trout and mackerel, are delicious flaked into salads or tossed with warm pasta, especially with a cream sauce.
___

Smoked Trout Noodle Soup

Not as strange as it sounds. Smoked trout has a meaty texture similar to chicken. And the rich, smoky flavor is the perfect match for a soup thick with noodles.

Start to finish: 30 minutes.

Servings: 6.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Large sprig fresh rosemary

6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) chicken broth

2 cups elbow pasta

2 cups baby spinach

2 scallions, whites and greens, chopped

Salt and ground black pepper

8-ounce package smoked trout


In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the garlic, carrots, onion, celery, peas, thyme and rosemary. Saute for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until barely tender. Remove and discard the rosemary stem. Add the spinach and scallions and heat for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a fork, flake and break up the trout into large bite-size chunks. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, then pile a bit of the trout in the center of each.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 320 calories; 80 calories from fat (25 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 35 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrate; 18 g protein; 5 g fiber; 630 mg sodium.





 














 



Local events heading








  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.


(More History)