Salmon is smoking
For brunch? Sure. But invite it back for dinner.
Although purists eat it mostly plain, there are a wealth of recipes using smoked salmon. (TMS Photo / May 29, 2010)
Yet it can do much more. Whether featured in a pasta dish, incorporated into a salad or stuffed into a fajita, smoked salmon is a versatile, multifaceted fish.
Although considered a delicacy, smoked salmon has quite humble beginnings. Born out of necessity, smoking was the means by which medieval Europeans, particularly in Scotland and Ireland, ensured that their bountiful salmon catches would remain edible throughout the year.
Every now and then, smoked salmon gets confused with its bolder, saltier Scandinavian cousin gravlax. This comes as no surprise, as menus inaccurately feature such items as "lox and bagels." Because most diners do not appreciate the piquancy of salt-preserved gravlax, smoked salmon usually stands in for lox.
While the taste and texture have evolved over the years, what hasn't changed is its healthfulness. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, smoked salmon remains a high-protein, low-calorie food.
Wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, smoked salmon will keep for a week. Double-bagged in plastic freezer bags, it can be frozen for six months. Freezing smoked salmon does alter its silky texture and taste — so, it's better to refrigerate than to freeze it, if possible.
Although purists may opt to eat this delicacy with a dusting of ground pepper and on a cracker, bagel or slice of rye or pumpernickel bread, a wealth of recipes exists. Consider an updated grilled cheese or eggs Benedict where smoked salmon replaces the ham. For breakfast, sample a smoked salmon quiche, omelet or frittata or smoked salmon wrap, pasta or polenta at dinner.
Along with dill, creme fraiche, cucumbers, capers, sour cream and cream cheese, smoked salmon pairs well with a long list of foods, including hard-boiled eggs, garlic, leeks, lemon juice, potatoes and potato salad, shallots and vinaigrette.
Smoked salmon stuffed tortillas
Prep: 15 minutes Makes: 4 servings
4 tortillas, warmed
4 ounces smoked salmon
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained
Hot sauce, optional
Lay the tortillas on a work surface; place equal amounts of salmon, avocado, tomato, spinach, sour cream and capers over the center of each. Fold in the edges; serve with hot sauce.