Salmon is one of the world’s most flavorful and nutritious fishes. This popular pinkish-orange seafood can be prepared in several ways. They can be baked, poached, canned, fried, smoked, and grilled. Each of these types of salmon has a distinct taste.
For instance, baked, poached, and grilled salmon paired with other spices will often have a buttery and citrusy flavor. Canned salmon usually tastes plain and greasy. Smoked salmon mostly tastes smokey, salty, and slightly fishy.
There are reasons smoked salmon tastes like this. Take a wild guess?
Let’s see if your guess matches the real reasons smoked salmon taste the way they do.
What does smoked salmon taste like?
Smoked salmon tastes like smokey, fishy, and salty flavors somehow came together and had a baby.
It is apparent why smoked salmon tastes fishy and salty, but why does smoked salmon taste salty?
Smoked salmon taste salty because they are soaked in brine, which often contains a lot of salt. The longer the salmon is left in the brine, the saltier its taste.
Salmon is soaked in saltwater brine to absorb surplus moisture from the fish. This process makes it easier and faster to smoke the fish. After smoking, the fish retains the salt acquired from the saltwater brine.
Does salmon have a fishy taste?
Fish is supposed to taste like fish because it is fish, after all.
But no, fresh salmon isn’t supposed to have a ‘fishy’ taste. Fresh salmon is supposed to taste mildly fishy like the sea, not overpowering. If salmon tastes fishy, then it is most likely old. The longer the fish stays, the more it develops a denser fishy flavor. To avoid this, ensure to buy salmon as fresh as possible.
Another reason your salmon tastes fishy is the presence of Trimethylamine, a bacteria-causing chemical compound in the tissues of dead fish. Cold temperatures help reduce trimethylamine production rate, but cold temperatures don’t stop the process entirely. The more Trimethylamine is produced, the fishier the salmon tastes and smells.
If you’re stuck with a salmon that has a fishy taste, here are some things you can do.
- Cook the salmon the same day you buy it.
- Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into a water bowl and soak the salmon.
- Rinse the salmon thoroughly.
How to make smoked salmon that tastes great – The best recipe
If you are making smoked salmon, it is only reasonable that you want to achieve the best-tasting smoked salmon possible. Here’s THE recipe and guide for making smoked salmon that tastes great.
- A quarter cup of kosher salt
- Five pounds of salmon (char or trout)
- A cup of brown sugar
- A quart of cool water
- Sweetener for basting (birch syrup, maple syrup, or honey)
- Spices like minced onions, bay leaves, garlic, and chiles (spices are optional)
- A smoker
- Some wood for the smoker (alder, Apple, oak, cherry, or maple wood)
- A basting brush
- A wire rack
- A big plastic container
- Mix the ingredients for the brine: the water, brown sugar, and kosher salt in a glass or plastic bowl. Place your fish into it and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Remove your fish from the brine, rinse with cold running water, pat dry with a clean dishcloth, and place on a cooling wire rack in cool and ventilated conditions (usually 60 degrees Fahrenheit and below) for about 2 to 4 hours. The fish should have developed a pellicle, a characteristic sheen on its skin.
- Set the smoker on low to medium heat (140-150 degrees Fahrenheit), brush the fish with some oil (vegetable or olive), and place in the smoker for 1 hour.
- Baste the fish with your sweetener. Then, raise the smoker’s temperature to about 175 degrees Fahrenheit and smoke the fish for another hour.
- Let the fish cool on the cooling rack before eating or refrigerating.
Refrigerated in a vacuum-sealed container, smoked salmon can last up to 3 weeks in the fridge and about 10 days if refrigerated in plastic. Frozen smoked salmon can last up to a year in the freezer.
How do you eat smoked salmon?
You can eat smoked salmon as a healthy snack, as an appetizer, as a complete meal, or paired with a side dish. Read further for more insight on how you can eat smoked salmon.
Can I eat smoked salmon raw?
You can eat raw smoked salmon right out of the package, whether cold-smoked or hot-smoked.
It is believed that since the salmon has already been smoked, there’s no need to cook it further.
Is smoked salmon better hot or cold?
Hot and cold smoked salmon are two siblings who have different strengths and weaknesses. But neither is better than the other.
Cold-smoked salmon works better in uncooked meals like salads, while hot-smoked salmon shines in cooked dishes like pasta, leek chowder, and scrambled eggs.
Check below for our list of excellent sides you can pair with your smoked salmon to make your meal even more adventurous.
What is the difference between Lox and smoked salmon?
Lox and smoked salmon are often used interchangeably because both are forms of cured salmon. However, as similar as these two may be, they remain very dissimilar.
Here are key differences between smoked salmon and Lox.
Hot-smoked salmon is often thick and flaky, while cold smoked salmon is light, tender, and fattier. However, the texture of Lox, whether cold or hot, is identical to that of cold-smoked salmon, soft, light, and fatty.
Although both are prepared by soaking in saltwater brine, one thing sets them apart during preparation. Smoked salmon is smoked after the brining process, while Lox isn’t. Instead, Lox is cured by saltwater brine.
Smoked salmon tastes smokey and salty, while Lox has a predominantly salty taste.
They each get their distinct flavors from their preparation process.
What are the different ways you can eat salmon?
Even though we mentioned this earlier, we haven’t preached the versatility of salmon well enough. Here’s the good news; salmon is a very versatile fish. Salmon can be eaten in at least five ways other than in the smoked variety.
- Poached salmon
Poached salmon is a nutritious dish made by moist-heat cooking the salmon in liquid over low heat. Contrary to popular opinion, poached salmon is fully cooked and safe to eat. In addition, poaching salmon results in low-fat and mild-flavored fish.
- Grilled salmon
Grilling salmon is one of the best ways to bring out the hidden flavors in salmon. Paired with the right ingredients, grilled salmon will taste perfect. Grilled salmon is nutritious in its own right. It is an excellent protein source, rich in vitamins B12, D, iron, and potassium.
- Baked salmon
Baked salmon is the perfect fit if you’d rather cook your salmon in the oven than stand over the stovetop to sauté the fish. Also, baking salmon is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy salmon. Because there is no added grease or fat, the salmon is low in fat and calories.
- Fried salmon
Fried salmon may not be as healthy as poached or baked salmon, but one thing is sure, the crispy texture and juicy, greasy flavor.
- Canned salmon
Although not a people’s favorite, canned salmon is still one of the ways many enjoy salmon. This prepackaged cooked salmon might not appeal to you if your taste buds love the tang of spices and ingredients because it tastes bland and oily. However, this canned fish, although processed, is still rich in protein, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Read also: What does it Mean when you Drop a Spoon?
What do you eat with smoked salmon? – Great accompaniments
The taste of smoked salmon is just one of the many things that set this fish apart. Its versatility, on the other hand, is another.
Here are ten ways you can eat smoked salmon.
- Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
- Smoked salmon and creamy potato soup with leek.
- Smoked salmon carbonara.
- Smoked salmon avocado toast.
- Smoked salmon, brie, and cucumber bites.
- Smoked salmon and crushed lemon polenta salad.
- Smoked salmon rolls.
- Irish whiskey salmon.
- Smoked salmon pate.
- Smoked salmon bagel pizza.