Smoked Wild Salmon Bruschetta

The winning entry in the 2015 Outdoor News Recipe Contest Sponsored by Camp Chef.
Although there are several steps involved in creating this dish, we think the end result looks delicious.

Submitted by Outdoor News reader: Jared Krekelberg of Minnesota

Salmon is a very versatile protein but really doesn't agree with me plain. I've tried it many ways but once I tried smoking it, I fell in love. Smoked Wild Salmon has to be one of the best treats a fish lover can experience. The best part is, once it’s smoked, it's great hot, cold and anywhere in-between.
This recipe is one that I love to entertain with. It works great as an appetizer to that big hunk of meat we all wanna be grilling for the main course or just a quick bite at mid day. Let me make your mouth water with this simple, made from scratch, bruschetta. 

First, let’s start with the horseradish aioli. You should just keep some of this in your fridge at all times…
Fresh Horseradish Root – 3 oz after peeling or 1 medium sized root.
Celery Root – 1 oz after peeling or a root about size of a golf ball.
Milk – 1 Cup. I prefer whole, but anything you have will work.
Sugar – 1/2 TBSP
Salt – 1 tsp
White Pepper – 1/4 tsp (Black will do just fine)
Mayo – 2 CUPS
Fresh Chives – 2 TBSP 

Roughly chop the peeled celery root and horseradish root and place in a sauce pan with milk, salt, and sugar. Bring the sauce pan to boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover the sauce pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Next, blend the entire contents of the pan until you get a semi smooth consistency and let cool. Once room temperature, whisk in the white pepper, mayo, and chives. 
Store in the fridge, its way better than you'll find in stores. 

Next, we smoke our salmon. I like to brine the salmon filet before smoking it.

2 qt. water 
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 each bay leaves

Soak the salmon for 4 to 6 hours and remove. I know there is many ways to smoke salmon and I encourage people to smoke the filet the way they are comfortable with.  This is how I smoke my salmon and other vegetables at my home:

(Before he won the great smoker grill from Camp Chef, Jared indicated that he used to "smoke my salmon with my grill", this component in the recipe follows that method.) First, I create an indirect heating area. I remove the grill grate and slide in a 2” to 4” deep stainless steel pan that sits on top of the of the gas burner covers.  The pan needs to be small enough to close the lid of the grill and cover most of the heating area.  Into the pan, I place Mesquite Wood Chips, about 3/4th of a pound. I love mesquite.  I think it brings a bit of earthiness to the fish when it’s done. 

Now, I spray the grill grate with an oil or a pan release, allowing us to remove the salmon smoothly later. Now, place the grate back over the pan.  If the pan is too high, just rest the grate on top of the pan or use a slotted insert for your pan.

We are ready to begin.  With your salmon filet removed from the brine, pat it dry.  Season the filet with salt and pepper and place on the grate, skin side down. Turn on the grill.  I usually go between medium and high.  The idea here is to heat the stainless steel pan with the wood chips in to a temperature where the wood chips begin to smolder.  When the chips begin to smolder and visible smoke is coming out, turn your heat down to medium and close the lid of your grill. 

Now we wait.  Unlike smoking fatty pork and beef, the temperature when smoking fish doesn’t need to be as consistent.  I continue to check back on my salmon filet every 5 to 7 minutes to insure that the wood chips are still smoking, but not on fire.  If the wood chips are not smoking, you will need to turn the temperature up. If they have started a visible flame, you need to turn the heat down and suffocate it with a heavy towel or pot holder.

I smoke the salmon for about 45 to 60 minutes depending on how hot you’ve been able to keep the wood chips and the internal heat of the grill.  Basically, you will be able to see a browning on the fish from the smoking process and you will see some whiteness developing in the middle of the filet from the fat content being broken down. You’re looking for an internal temp around 160.

At this point, I pull the salmon filet from the grill and slide it onto a sheet pan or platter to cool in the refrigerator.   Once cooled, the salmon meat should pull right off the skin and ready to eat anywhere.

Cool salmon and store cold.
We need to pickle the onions:
Red onion, 1 ea, sliced thin
1 cup sugar
5 cups champagne vinegar
pinch of salt

Whisk sugar, salt and vinegar together until sugar is dissolved.  Submerge onions 2 hours at least.  These only get better with time. 

Lets make this bruschetta:
Course Bread, I love Ciabatta for this. – 1 big slice, rather thick.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 TBSP
Salt and pepper to taste

Cover the slice of ciabatta with oil, salt and pepper and toast in the oven or on the grill until it starts to become crispy but not completely toasted. we want a crunch, but not a dried out piece of bread.

Once the bread is toasted and warm:

Horseradish Aioli – 2 TBSP
Smoked Salmon – 4 OZ – or whatever looks appropriate based on your bread size.

Now smother the top of the toast with horseradish aioli and top with the salmon, cold in this case.

Next, mix the following together in a small bowl and place on top of the salmon. 
Baby kale, or arugula – 15 leaves or a small handful
Cherry tomatoes – 2 each cut in quarters
Capers – 1 tsp.
Pickled onions, drained from the pickling liquid – 6 to 8 rings
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Done… Enjoy.

Categories: 1.Location, Cooking, Featured, Fish, Recipes, Salads, Sides & Misc

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