Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Salmon Candy

Mr. H is running in his first triathalon this weekend. He is one of those people who doesn't have to work out regularly to still be able to run a 7 minute mile. For 10 miles. Hell, probably for 20 miles. I, on the other hand, while I can run for a long time (if I so chose), at a dispairingly slow pace. My occasional trainer swears to me that I could become faster, but I remember even in high school, when I played field hockey, I was a solid 9 minute mile girl. So it's not surprising to me that in the *cough*15 or so *cough* years since then that I can't keep that pace. I still run, probably around 15 miles a week, but not that fast. (I do have something going for me, I am not wracked with leg cramps or back spasms like he is.)

Anyway, the whole family is piling into the car at an ungodly hour of the morning this weekend to be in that overrated city (although I still like it) by 6 am. Seriously. I'm going to bring my lounge chair and try to catch a nap.

As Mr. H is away on business tonight, I decided to work on a small protein present for him. Two batches of beef jerky, one of which I'm going to try to smoke on my smoker tomorrow, rather than just using the dehydrator. In addition, I'm experimenting with a batch of salmon candy.

Candied salmon is salmon that has been marinated/brined in a sweet brine, then hot smoked. Or at least, I believe that is what it is. We have been buying it from Whole Foods for as long as it was open. Miss Thing loves it. The only problem is the price, at $18 to $20 per pound, it is an expensive treat. Especially when the 5 year old would eat a pound of it herself. On our recent trip home, we bought a little stash of the stuff, but it just left me longing for more.

I decided to try my own version of candied salmon. Turns out, there are many recipes for the brine. Duh, I guess I just had to look for it.

I decided to use a recipe that included a lot of sugar and maple syrup. The recipe contained (what I thought to be) an awful lot of salt, but since this was my first time, I figured I should stick to the recipe. The brine makes a lot - much more than my 3 pounds of salmon needed.

I brined the chunks of salmon for about 24 hours, and then smoked them over hickory chips for about 3 hours. I still don't think I have the timing for the salmon right - I'm still not quite accustomed to deciding when a chunk is done. But for the most part, I think it turned out well. The fish was sweet, with a nice texture, and a good smokey flavor. Personally, I thought it was too salty, and next time I will not use so much salt. I apologize for not having a picture of the fish but I will get one as soon as I can.

On the upside of this adventure though, I made 3 pounds of candied salmon for about 18 dollars, rather than 19.99 a pound at that store! In addition, I threw the leftover brine with some of the beef that I was using for jerky in an attempt to persuade Miss Thing to like the stuff. I then smoked it. It tasted just like bacon!!!! She loved it.

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