Coast Cooking

Put salmon on your menu with these tips

Smoked salmon can be served as a delightful crostini.
Smoked salmon can be served as a delightful crostini. Special to the Sun Herald

Local grocery stores and fish markets have quite a selection of fish from which to choose these days.

Among the selection, salmon, which can be divided into two basic categories, salmon from Atlantic waters and salmon from the Pacific waters.

Two presentations

Salmon is most often presented roasted or smoked. If you want to roast it, buy a thick filet at the store.

If you want it smoked, most people buy it already prepared.

There are two basic categories of smoked salmon — cold smoked and hot smoked.

You can hot smoke fresh salmon on your grill at home, but cold smoking requires the ability to keep a constant and low tempature.

Hot-smoked salmon is cooked at from 120 f to 180 f. Cold smoked is prepared at 75-85 f.

There is a big difference in texture and flavor, so try both before you make up your mind which you prefer.

Varieties

In addition, there are different varieties of smoked salmon from which to choose — Scottish wild-caught is probably the best, and it is priced accordingly.

You also might find salmon from Norway, Ireland, Canada and Alaska. This is an instance when price matters.

The cheaper grades of smoked salmon can’t compare to the best. If you’ve had the less-expensive variety, and found it lacking, don’t give up.

Save up and slurge on trying the good stuff. You won’t regret it.

Smoked salmon is often served as a canape, but there are lots of other ways to serve it.

I am including a few basic ideas ideas with this story. Give them a try.

Smoked Salmon, Capers and Red Onion

Smoked salmon

Cream cheese or creme fraiche (Rouses carries it)

Capers, salt packed are best

Chopped red onion

Lemon zest

This is about as easy as it gets and can be served as is, or on toast points. Carefully arrange the thin slices of smoked salmon, roll them up if you like. Garnish with a small scoop of creme fraiche and a scattering of red onion and capers. That’s it!

Smoked Salmon Mousse

8 ounces hot smoked salmon (it will be a thicker fillet)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temp

1/4 cup heavy cream

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups cream cheese

Fresh chopped parsley

Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature. Place in a blender and pulse until smooth. Place in an oiled ramekin and put in the refrigerator until chilled. Decant carefully onto a serving platter, surround with the crackers you like best and serve chilled.

Smoked salmon can be served on a hors d’oeuvres tray with almost any variety of other small bites that you might like. Consider fresh avocado, sliced cucumber, lemon wedges, sliced tomato or thin slices of radish. Take your time and make an artful presentation. It makes a significant difference.

Also, consider serving thin slices of smoked salmon that have been torn into bite sizes in a green salad. Add fresh red tomatoes and avocado. Garnish only with a little olive oil, you can find a great, unfiltered olive oil grocery stores these days.

One of my favorite things to do with smoked salmon is to add it to the mayonnaise and egg yolk mixture in deviled eggs. Run the mixture through a blender first and garnish with diced gherkins. Absolutely delicious.

Smoked Salmon Crostini

This is about as simple as it gets and can be presented in several ways. Use thin slices of cold smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon, or smoked salmon mousse.

1 loaf of crusty French bread, sliced into rounds

Thin sliced cold smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon or mousse

Creme fraiche (Greek yogurt or cream cheese)

Optional: fresh herbs, olive salad, chopped red onions

Slice the bread into 2/3 inch rounds, toast if you like, add the salmon (your prefer) and a dollop of Crème fraiche (or one of the other choices). Choose one of the optional toppings or not, just the bread, salmon and Crème fraiche is fine, but you can kick it up almost any way you like. Please serve at once.

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