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Tea and Spice Smoked Salmon with Apple Cucumber
entrée for 6

Don’t look at the description and think it is complicated this is possibly the simplest dish in my entire repertoire. Smoking is best done outside! AO

for the salmon
1 large side of salmon skin on - should weigh about 1.8kg give or take about 100g
250g good rock salt
250g caster sugar

for the smoke mix
you need two lots of everything
250g soft brown sugar
50g black China tea — available from Chinese grocers
40g whole star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
3 pieces of liquorice — available from Chinese grocers
1 orange, thickly peeled rind

for the cucumber
3 apple cucumbers, peeled and very finely sliced on a mandolin
Maldon sea salt
white pepper, freshly and finely ground
100g Leonardi Oro Nobile Balsama Bianco — see tip

essential stuff
3m long wide aluminium foil, torn into two 1.5m pieces
wok with tightly fitting lid
rack that fits snugly in the wok a little above the smoke mix

for the salmon

  • remove the fin and trim the belly (it is enough to make a good curry for two people)
  • calculate where you need to butterfly the tail to fold it back so that the whole fillet is an even thickness
  • using a flexible knife, remove the skin back to the point where you will butterfly
  • butterfly the fillet
  • cover tray with plastic food wrap
  • Put the salt and sugar into a Thermomix, MyCook or blender and grind until fine…this will be twice as much as you will need but very handy in the pantry
  • roughly divide the salt and sugar mix into four and sprinkle one quarter of the mix on the prepared tray.
  • lay the salmon skin side down on the salt and sugar mix and then sprinkle another quarter onto the flesh.
  • set a time for one hour and when the timer goes rinse the fish under cold running water and pat it dry with a clean cloth
  • place the fish on a tray, cover loosely with Freezer–go–Between and refrigerate until ready to cook

for the smoke mix
Fold the two pieces of foil in half shiny side out, then layer the ingredients in the order listed in the middle of each piece of foil.

one hour before you want to cook take the fish from the fridge and cut it in half.

Put one of the smoke mixes into the wok and sit the rack on top. Set your outside burner to high and place the wok on the heat and cover with the lid. When you have a good smoke (three to four minutes) without delay remove the lid and place it skin side down on the rack and immediately recover. Set a timer for four minutes and as soon as the timer goes, without removing the lid, turn off the heat and set the timer for seven minutes. When the time goes remove the salmon piece and place it on the tray.

Repeat the process with the second piece of salmon. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes and then carefully turn the pieces over, remove the skin and carefully scrape away the grey fatty seam and cover loosely again until you are ready to serve (30 minutes).

to serve
Add the white balsamic to the cucumber, season lightly with salt and white pepper and gently toss it over with your hands and let it stand while you break up the salmon. Break the salmon into large chunks to expose the gorgeous pink centre and make a long row of it on a deep serving plate. Arrange the cucumber along side of the salmon and pour the juices into the plate and serve with extra Maldon and a white pepper mill at the table.

tip — yes the Leonardi is expensive but it is exquisite…available from Bottega Rotolo in Adelaide.

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.