Carol invited us to dinner last night. She was having salmon. She likes it, but her husband does not. He had to work late, so it was the perfect opportunity for her to have a dinner of salmon. It turned out to be relatively easy and absolutely delicious.
The thing that made the dish especially good was that Carol smoked the salmon in her Camerons stove-top smoker. That is definitely a kitchen gadget to have, even if you don’t use it very often. The standard model is a stainless steel pan with collapsible handles and an air-tight lid designed to keep smoke inside the pan and not in the kitchen (It really works.) Inside are a flat tray and a rack. You put a pile of very small wood chips (purchased from Camerons, of course.) in the bottom of the pan, cover with the tray, and arrange the food to be smoked on the rack. Slide the cover nearly but not-quite closed and put the whole contraption over two burners on your range. The heat from the burners should be low to medium–low – enough to get the wood chips smoking but not so hot that the food burns. When the first wisps of smoke begin to come out, push the lid completely closed. There should be no leaks. Then smoke the food for the desired time. In the case of salmon, about 20 minutes should do. Remove from the heat for a few minutes and then remove the lid. You will smell the smoke, but it should not invade the kitchen. Check to make sure the food is cooked to your liking. If not, you can close the lid again and heat for another few minutes.
If you don’t have a smoker, you can accomplish the same thing by basting the salmon with a mixture of ½ teaspoon liquid smoke and 2 teaspoons soy sauce before broiling in the oven.
Smoked Salmon Niçoise
- 1 pound salmon filet, bones removed
- 4 cups lettuce cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced (see post on how to peel a hard-boiled egg)
- 8 small new potatoes, boiled, chilled, and cut into 1½ inch chunks
- 2 cups green beans, cut in 2 inch lengths, blanched, cooked, and chilled
- 20 pitted black olives
- 4 teaspoons drained capers
- 10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- salt and pepper to taste
- homemade vinaigrette or your favorite bottled salad dressing
- Pat the salmon dry and place in the smoker. Smoke according to instructions with the smoker.
- In the meantime, arrange the lettuce in the middle of each of 4 plates.
- Arrange the sliced eggs, potatoes, beans, olives, capers, and tomatoes equally among the plates.
- Remove the salmon from the smoker, cut into 4 equal slices and arrange on the plates.
- Season as needed with salt and pepper
- Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.