Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tea-smoked Salmon Sandwich with Sweet Dijon Mustard

This was one of those times when we had to "make it work."

The whole thing started out so promising. I was testing another recipe from Jaden's upcoming Steamy Kitchen cookbook: Tea-smoked Salmon. Her delicious-looking photograph of the finished product was enticement enough.

I was excited.

I prepared the smoking mixture of tea, sugar, (some salt?) and Szechuan peppercorns. I placed it on foil at the bottom of our steamer. I turned the heat on and waited for the smoke.


So I placed the two pieces of salmon to smoke. (Note: I should've put the salmon fillets on something, not directly on the steamer surface. Or, lightly oiled the surface. The fish stuck a bit.)

This time, I can blame the blurry/fuzzy picture on the smoke and not my shoddy photography skills.

At the recommended end of cooking time, I checked the fish. And yes, even though Jaden wrote in the recipe that the fish will still look like its raw self, I was still afraid.

It went downhill from there.

Mistake #1: Not trusting the cooking time indicated in the recipe.

I set about smoking the fish for more time.

Mistake #2: Very erroneous heat control.

After I added 10 more minutes to the cooking time. I shut off the heat. I checked the fish. It seemed ready, I thought. However, I think it was JS who kept insisting that it wasn't cooked yet! (Yes, I blame her. Bwahahaha.)

So, after much hesitation, I decided that I would smoke the salmon some more. Since I turned the heat off, there was no more smoke. Instead of heating the smoking mixture first sans fish and waiting for smoke, I placed the whole fish-steamer-smoking-mixture configuration back on the heat and turned it to high.

Anyway, to make this very long-winded story short, the high heat cooked the salmon in a very unattractive way and burned the smoking mixture. You did not want to be in our kitchen that day.

The outside of the salmon was a brownish-grey and there were little dots of white (its coagulated fat, I guess). Not very appetizing.

Scraping off the brownish-grey film on exterior, I tasted the flesh and found that it was still OK to eat, albeit a tad too smoky in flavor.

So, we decided to salvage as much salmon as possible and make a smoked salmon sandwich spread. We added mayo, cornichons, green onions, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. We also made a sweet Dijon sauce to go with it.

The sweetness of the sauce and the tanginess of the cornichons and lemon juice mellowed the smoky flavor of the salmon. We had some of JS's Swedish Limpa Bread on hand and decided to make ourselves some sandwiches.

(This could work as a dip too, I would think.)

So... did we "make it work?"

Posts featuring recipes tested from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen cookbook:
Tea-smoked Salmon Sandwich with Sweet Dijon Mustard
Shrimp Chips with Five-Spice Beef
Kimchi Fried Rice, an addiction
Crispy Tofu with Sweet Chili Soy Sauce
Sweet Soy Pork with Potato Chips


  1. time follow the instructions verbatim if it's your 1st time trying something.

    At least you made a save and you ate the salmon in some sandwiches.

  2. This kind of thing happens to me all the time... but isn't the kitchen an experimenting area? We learn from our errors and your final dish looks fantastic and it was eadible... nice you told us about it :D

  3. aaahhh young grasshoppa! recipe trust you must next time

  4. I had some smoking planned for the weekend; this makes me think I shoudl just sit around and eat leftovers.

  5. did you make it work? Hells yea - this looks great and I'm in love witht he pics...just in love!


  6. LOL - that's called snatching victory from the jaws of defeat!! Definitely need to get a smoker...

  7. All's well that ends well...and that sandwich and dressing looks pretty darn good to me.

  8. Wow. If you hadn't said that this wasn't the intended outcome, I would never have known. This looks great! Great save.

  9. This is exactly what would have happened to me, but I am super impressed with how you saved it.

  10. The sandwich looks good! I would say,yes! You did make it work! :)

  11. Sounds like you turned a don't into a do

  12. Hmm, interesting question. For one thing, that money shot is awesome :) But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Maybe to some people there's no such thing as "too smokey" :)

  13. Practice makes perfect right :)

  14. Oh, you made it work. It's gorgeous!

  15. Peter M:
    I still place the blame on JS. LOL. ;D

    Yes, it's unadulterated stuff you can find here at [eatingclub] vancouver, failures and all. =)

    Hahahaha.... Sorry! =)

    maybelle's mom:
    I think your smoking should be fine! It's just we haven't done cold-smoking before....

    Darius T. Williams:
    Thanks! I think it's the spoon with the blue accent that makes the photo. ;)

    We did this on the stovetop with a steamer.

    Fearless Kitchen:

    Haha, yes, exactly.

    Thanks! Had to pour with the spoon w my left hand and try not to move my camera in the right hand. ;)

  16. hmmmm... i'm drooling! that looks really YUM!
    (and i love the spoon!)

  17. Wow, grrreat save! Mistakes like this enhances your creativity, as I've learned many times over.

  18. iska:
    Yes, the spoon! I saw it again at home recently and was slightly taken aback that it's so tiny! Looks big in the picture, haha.

    shaved ice sundays:
    They're not really "mistakes" at all. =D

  19. The end product looks great, and it would be a nice change from tuna salad for sure. The smoking frightens me a bit, but I might try it first with pre made smoke salmon, and then work up to the whole thing.

  20. court:
    I'm sure that would be perfectly all right. Yes, since we made a mess of it, the cold-smoking still scares us too! =)

  21. That sandwich sounds really good!

  22. It still looks great to me!


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