Sal­mon smoked in the ho­tel’s kitchen

Chef pre­pares break­fast treat freshly each day, writes Tracey Chè King

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY -

IF you’ve ever toyed with the idea of smok­ing your own sal­mon, it re­ally is sur­pris­ingly easy to do – and Bay chef Ju­lia van der Westhuizen is happy to share her tips and tricks. The Radis­son Blu ho­tel on the beach­front de­cided last year ago to do away with store-bought strips of sal­mon as part of their break­fast buf­fet, and treat guests and vis­i­tors to a whole fil­let of in-house smoked sal­mon in­stead.

“We wanted some­thing unique for the Radis­son, and so we tried it and it worked,” se­nior sous chef Ju­lia said be­fore tak­ing Week­end Post through the steps.

“Peo­ple fell in love with it – they not only taste the dif­fer­ence, they see the dif­fer­ence, be­cause it’s a whole sal­mon.”

Ev­ery day at 5.10am Ju­lia smokes fresh Nor­we­gian sal­mon for guests en­joy­ing the ho­tel’s “Su­per Break­fast” buf­fet.

Her method is sim­ple enough to be recre­ated by home cooks. She be­gins by fil­let­ing the whole sal­mon, but says home cooks could sim­ply buy a fil­let of sal­mon or trout at the har­bour.

The ac­tual smok­ing is pre­ceded by cur­ing the sal­mon.

To be­gin the cur­ing process, she coats it in a com­bi­na­tion of brown sugar, coarse sea salt, pep­per, and the juice of one le­mon and one or­ange. The le­mon and or­ange juice give the fish a tangy taste that bal­ances out the sugar.

The sal­mon is then placed in the fridge to cure overnight.

In the morn­ing Ju­lia re­moves the cured fish and be­gins the smok­ing process on the gas stove.

She places an ob­long tray, con­tain­ing wine bar­rel smok­ing chips, di­rectly onto the burner. She then sets the chips alight and waits a minute be­fore dous­ing the fire us­ing the lid of the tray.

Once the flames are doused and the smoke is a clear grey, she places a per­fo­rated tray coated in oil spray on top of the lower tray.

The sal­mon is placed on top of the per­fo­rated tray and the lid goes on top to al­low the fish to smoke.

For home smok­ing you could use a ket­tle braai and a smok­ing tray or smoke box if you don’t have a gas stove, Ju­lia sug­gests.

“You start your coals, then place the tray onto the di­rect heat of the braai. It’ll only take 10 to 15 min­utes to ‘cook’,” she said. “You’ll know it’s done when it feels firm, and it has a pink­ish colour with a [dark brown ve­neer] on the top.”

Once cooked the sal­mon can go into the fridge un­til cool and ready to be served.

Ju­lia serves her whole smoked sal­mon with ca­pers and le­mon wedges at break­fast. How­ever, smoked sal­mon can be used in other ways.

“You can turn it into a hot smoked sal­mon salad – just add melon balls and cit­rus slices to it.

“You could put it into a crois­sant with ca­pers, cream cheese and a squeeze of le­mon, or serve it as a snack on crack­ers with cream cheese, paired with a white wine,” she said.

The Radis­son break­fast buf­fet with show-stop­ping smoked sal­mon is served from 6.30 to 10.30am on week­days, and 6.30 to 11am on week­ends. Book­ings are on (041) 509-5000.


BUF­FET PRIDE: Ju­lia van der Westhuizen

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