The small town of Hahndorf, in the Adelaide Hills, is a popular tourist destination which celebrates it’s rich German heritage – but it isn’t all kransky and lederhosen up there and I believe that our local producers deserve plenty of recognition!
Next time you are wandering down the main drag of Hahndorf, make sure that you pop into the Harris Smokehouse and try out yet another wonderful, locally produced gastronomical delight – and one with four generations of family history behind it! The Pinney/Harris family have been smoking fish for over 50 years with the original smokehouse set up in Suffolk, England. One branch of the family still runs the business back in the UK but, in 1990, Richard and Valerie Harris moved their young family here to Adelaide. Salmon farming was just starting up here in Australia and there was no local artisan product, so they turned to what they knew best and began smoking fish in a small business in Mt. Barker, which they christened “Springs Smoked Seafood”, beginning another chapter of the family story.
Richard and Valerie’s son, Adam, is the proud proprietor of the Harris Smokehouse and it is plain to see that his young man has inherited every fishy gene in his family. He studied aquaculture at school and further fed his interest by keeping tropical fish tanks at home. When he left school Adam began his career on the now much extended factory floor where he embraced and learnt his trade from the ground up, occasionally making himself unpopular with the older members of staff as he sought to improve production. When “Springs” was eventually sold, Adam once again went back to basics, and took some time out to learn as much as he could about barramundi farming at the only year-round barramundi hatchery in Australia – which to my surprise is right here in Adelaide at West Beach!
In 2009, at 24 years of age and armed with passion, knowledge, family support and the slicer that his parents brought to Australia when they immigrated, Adam opened up his own business and began producing a range of high quality, hand-made seafood products. Employing locals, some from the old “Springs” days, and using local products wherever possible Adam prides himself on using a balance of ethics, productivity and profit to build his business and create his delicious range. For cold-smoking, Adam first salts his salmon fillets to make sure that there will be no mushiness in the end product, then uses the smoke of oak wood to produce the delicate and distinct flavour that I love so much. The hot-smoked salmon is just to-die-for and is made by brining the fish, cold smoking it first, then cooking it in the hot smoker – it can be served hot or cold.
Adam and his father, Richard, have moved on much further than just smoked salmon, though! No longer limited by the Kosher restraint from the Springs days, there is not much that escapes the smoker as these two put their heads together to come up with a stream of new and innovative products. Harris currently boasts a range of almost 30 different seafood lines, including smoked prawns, sardines, oysters, mussels and kingfish from South Australia and eels from Victoria. There is also a growing range of oven-ready meals available in the freezers, including fish pies and our dinner – salmon fillets with currants and ginger, wrapped in puff pastry – with more ideas in the pipeline!
The store in Hahndorf houses a very large smoke-house and the main preparation and packaging area is visible, behind glass, from the shop floor. Currently, Adam and his staff are only working one shift per day, but the size of the premises means that production can be increased without moving to new premises. Just as well, really, as local chefs are discovering this quality Adelaide Hills product and there is an interstate market for Harris seafood products rapidly developing!
There are plenty of recipe ideas available on the website – www.harrissmokehouse.com.au – but here is one to get you started!
SMOKED RAINBOW TROUT POTATO SALAD
1 pkt Harris Smokehouse Rainbow Trout
400 gms small potatoes
A few sprigs of dill, chopped
A handful of continental flat parsley, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
Good quality mayonnaise
Roughly chop unpeeled potatoes into even sized pieces and cook in boiling, salted water until cooked.
Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
Flake the trout and add to the potatoes with the dill, parsley and spring onions.
Add a few good dollops of mayonnaise and mix carefully, then season with black pepper.
This can be served warm or cold and any other smoked fish could be used. Try mixing in a little chilli or wasabi to the mayo for an extra kick.
Printable recipe SMOKED RAINBOW TROUT POTATO SALAD.