I’ve had a tabletop smoker for hot smoking for years and I use it often, for instance to make hot-smoked salmon or hot-smoked scallops, or to smoke a brisket or a ham hock before cooking it sous-vide. Such a smoker does two things at the same time: cooking (it is basically a small oven that gets pretty hot inside) and smoking. It takes 15-20 minutes to cook to food, so that is also how long you can smoke it without overcooking it. You can’t make ‘smoked salmon’ (i.e. salmon that is only cured and smoked, but not cooked) with it, as you can only generate smoke by heating up the entire smoker.
Now I have a new contraption, which is a “cold smoke generator”. It is basically a ‘maze’ that is filled with smoking dust and then lighted on one end. The smoking dust will burn very slowly in about 10 hours, generating smoke but hardly any heat. You can put this smoke generator in any closed but ventilated space, such as an outdoor grill. For cold smoking the temperature should not be above 30ºC/85ºF, so it is ideal to use in winter time. If you want to smoke something for more than 10 hours, you can simply fill it up with smoking dust again and continue to smoke.
I hadn’t realised this “cold smoke generator” would be so easy to operate and work so well, or I would have bought it much sooner. I tried it with salmon, and the result was amazing. The process starts the same as gravlax, and then you simply fill the cold smoke generator with smoking dust, light it, and wait for 10 hours. The result is amazing, much better than most store-bought smoked salmon. The traditional (Swedish) mustard sauce that is great with gravlax, is also great with this. Here’s what I did…
500 grams (1.1 lbs) fresh salmon with skin [100%]
250 grams (.55 lbs) salt [50%]
50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar [10%]
2 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
1/2 tsp juniper berries, minced
1 Tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
cold smoke generator + enough smoking dust to fill it
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
This is great with many white wines, especially oaked ones that are not too heavy like a white Burgundy. Also champagne works very well.
I find recipes with butternut squash are often lacking in taste, or don’t taste of squash. This spaghettini with butternut squash and sage is not only very tasty but also tastes of butternut squash.