Smoke has been used to preserve and flavor fish since the caveman days. And until modern advancements in refrigeration, curing by smoke was one of the best ways to preserve fish and other proteins. But the process of smoking our foods has not gone by the wayside; in fact, it has been elevated to an art form.
The infusion of smoke imparts a completely unique flavor to foods, and something magical happens when smoke is infused in fish. Properly executed, the combination of tender flesh, salt and smoke is synergy at its finest. The whole most certainly is greater than the sum of its parts.
A wave of ambitious smoking enthusiasts are experimenting with creative new ways, and revisiting time-honored traditions, of smoking fish. And they’re building businesses in the process. As more international cuisine is introduced to mainstream America, there is a steadily growing demand for premium smoked fish. And eager smokehouses are rising up to meet this demand.
The Food Channel World Market has recently introduced several products from Gold Star Smoked Fish Corp., a family run business in Brooklyn, NY that produces world-class smoked fish. The star of the line-up is the cold smoked salmon. Meticulously sourced wild salmon is cured with sea salt and placed in a traditional brick smoker at close to room temperature. This cold smoking process allows the salmon to retain most of its moisture content and does not actually cook the fish, leaving the meat tender and succulent. The combination of hard woods used to create the smoke imbues a wonderfully rich, yet subtle flavor to the salmon.
As with many art forms, smoking is a process that takes years to perfect. And when done right, the perfectly simple ingredients of fish, salt and smoke transform into something simply perfect.