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