The Difference Between Cold & Hot Smoked Salmon – & a Winter Salad Recipe
Discover the difference between cold smoked & hot smoked salmon & try this delicious Hot Smoked Salmon, Orange & Couscous Salad.
We all know that we’re supposed to eat plenty of omega 3-rich oily fish – this good fat helps to reduce triglycerides thus reducing the risk of heart disease, protects the brain from memory loss and dementia and reduces inflammation associated with arthritis, among other things – but I’m just not much of a fishy person. However, one oily fish I am happy to eat is salmon. Of course, in a perfect world, what I’d be eating would be wild caught salmon as the flavour of wild-caught fish is incomparable, but I’m also very happy with our Australian farmed salmon and love it fresh or smoked.
What some of you may be unaware of is the difference between the hot and cold smoking processes and the resulting product. Cold smoked salmon is the luscious, delicate, silky slices of salmon that you’ll often find as finger food combined with sour cream or cream cheese on crackers or bruschetta. This is produced by curing raw salmon for about 24 hours then smoking it at a low temperature for just an hour or two, before slicing it very thinly and serving. It’s a simple process that anyone can do at home.
Hot smoked salmon is cured for less time, then smoked at a higher temperature, resulting in a product which is both cooked and smoked. This has a much stronger smokey flavour and is very popular in Scotland and in Scandinavian cuisine, where this process was traditionally used as a preservation method.
I love both, but use them quite differently depending upon what I have to hand. We are fortunate to have wonderful, locally produced hot and cold smoked salmon right here in Adelaide, made by the Harris family in the Adelaide Hills – you may remember I wrote about them here, quite some time ago.
It’s not really been salad weather here in the Adelaide Hills for the last few weeks, but I had a pack of Harris’ delicious hot smoked salmon and a big bag of fresh, seasonal oranges from a friends property in the Riverland that I was keen to combine. I came up with this Hot Smoked Salmon, Orange & Couscous Salad for a quick dinner one recent Saturday evening. The smokiness of the fish combined brilliantly with the tang of the citrus and the whole thing came together perfectly when blended with the fragrance of my favourite Moroccan spice blend – ras el hanout.
I used couscous because I had it on hand, but this would be equally delicious with quinoa instead – and would be just as nice eaten as part of a summer outdoor lunch as it was when we shared it with some friends, cosying up to the kitchen wood stove.
Hot Smoked Salmon, Orange & Couscous Salad
- 1 cup couscous
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped semi-dried tomatoes
- 3 large oranges
- 2 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 spring onions sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds
- 400 gms hot smoked salmon broken in to pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- Sea salt
- Yoghurt Sauce
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice & zest of one lemon
- Salt & pepper
- Place couscous, semi-dried tomatoes and the zest of 2 oranges in a large bowl. Pour over the hot stock, stir, then cover for 15 minutes until the stock is absorbed. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
- Peel and segment 2 of the oranges, making sure to remove all of the white pith. Mix orange slices, spring onions, fresh herbs, nuts and salmon with the couscous. Toss gently together with CLEAN hands to combine.
- Season to taste.
- Whisk together the juice of the remaining orange, the olive oil, ras el hanout and pour over the salad, tossing gently to combine.
- Serve yoghurt dressing on the side, allowing diners to drizzle it over their salad.
- Yoghurt Dressing
- Blend yoghurt, olive oil and zest and juice of one lemon, season to taste. Add more olive oil if you want a looser sauce.