Fennel cured & smoked NZ King Salmon with pecan watercress pesto

Details

Serves: 8-10

Pecan Watercress Pesto Method

Place all the ingredients (apart from ½ the white sesame seeds) into a food processor. Blitz to pesto consistency.

Stir through the white sesame seeds

Store in an airtight container & float a little oil over the top to stop oxidization, refrigerate to store but bring to room temperature to eat.

Curing the Salmon

Lay the salmon on a non-metal tray or plate skin-side down. Mix together the salt, sugar, ground fennel, and lemon zest and spread the mixture evenly over the salmon flesh.

Wrap the salmon fillet with cure in plastic food wrap, then to weight it down (helps the cure to penetrate the salmon flesh evenly) put a board on top and weigh it down with a couple of tins. Leave for 4hours, but every hour tip off any liquid that collects.

When ready, unwrap and brush off the cure mix (give it a quick rinse if needed) & pat dry with a cloth if necessary.

Hot Smoking the Salmon using a BBQ

Preheat a roll top BBQ with warming racks on high with the lid up for approx 5-8 min (depending on the BBQ), the grill plate needs to be hot without retaining any heat under the hood. Then place a sheet of aluminum foil down on the hot plate & sprinkle the smoking wood chips & fennel seeds over the plate. As soon as they begin to smoke heavily place your Salmon on the warming rack & roll the lid down & turn off the gas, it is important at this stage to leave the lid down for at least 4-5mins so as to allow the smoke to form & flavour the salmon. Be very careful not to over cook the salmon, an indication is as soon as you see white protein leeching out of the side of the salmon it will be cooked. Remove & allow to cool quickly.

Hot Smoking the Salmon using a Wok

Place the salmon on the cake rack (you may have to cut it in ½ to make it fit), heat the wok on a high heat, place enough aluminum foil in the wok to cover the bottom & then add the smoking wood chips & fennel seeds. As soon as they begin to smoke heavily place the rack into the wok & place the lid on, allow to remain on the heat for another minute then remove & allow to sit with the lid on for approx 4-5mins so the smoke can form & flavour the salmon. Be very careful not to over cook the salmon, an indication is as soon as you see white protein leeching out of the side of the salmon it will be cooked. Remove & allow to cool quickly.

Chef's Notes

There are many ways off achieving a hot smoked product, this recipe details two. A simple description of the hot smoking process is when you take a product (in this case salmon) & basically cook & smoke at the same time hence the term “Hot Smoke”, as opposed to the “Cold Smoking” process where the product is smoked by way of smoke (produced out side of the smoking area) being piped into a cold sealed chamber with no heat.

About the Chef

New Zealand King Salmon is renowned for its exceptional flavour and for being naturally high in the healthy Omega-3 oil. As a travelling ambassador for New Zealand cuisine I am proud to prepare and showcase our farmed salmon, which due to our isolation and rigorous farming practices is naturally free from ...
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