Once a luxury product, smoked salmon is now a mainstay of supermarket chiller counters and UK dinner tables. From thrifty trimmings weaved into scrambled eggs, to versions flavoured with herbs, beetroot, whisky and more, there are products to suit most budgets and tastes. We’re big fans of enjoying it in generous slices with a dot of horseradish atop a traditional oatcake, but it’s a great ingredient to cook with too – the deeply savoury flavour imparts with stealth, meaning a little goes a very long way.
While high-quality slices of smoked salmon are easily available from supermarkets and fishmongers, you can make a really similar cured variety at home with our easy gravadlax recipe. It’s not as hard as it sounds and you don’t need to own a smoke shack in the outer Hebrides to get an authentic finish.
You’ll need the freshest salmon fillet you can buy, then the method is to cure (so strictly speaking it’s not smoked) over two days in a brine. Don’t be scared of the fact you don’t cook the fish over heat – the salt water infuses the raw flesh and makes it edible.
Matt Tebbutt adds some Asian spices to his sherry and anise-tinged version, while our food editor Barney adds a splash of vibrant purple by marinating his salmon in beetroot. Gordon Ramsay takes a Scandinavian approach and cures his salmon with dill to make gravadlax.
Our favourite ways with smoked salmon
1. Smoked salmon risotto
Treat yourself to a deliciously decadent midweek meal with our smoked salmon risotto. This simple dish oozes sophistication. The zesty lemon cuts through the creamy mascarpone base to create a perfectly balanced dish. We guarantee it’ll become a weekly favourite.
2. Scrambled eggs and salmon
If you’ve not tried salmon with eggs, we recommend you try it soon. Go for this delicious scramble for breakfast. It’s guaranteed empty plates – who could resist mopping up buttery eggs with a Tabasco kick, with a second helping of hot toast?
3. Smoked salmon kedgeree
Kedgeree is normally made with smoked haddock, but also works with slices of salmon. Flavour with mild spices and top with a perfectly poached egg. If you prefer something a little lighter, try adding your fish to a tortilla-style omelette instead.
4. Smoked salmon pâté
Blitzing smoked salmon into a creamy pâté allows for use of thrifty fish trimmings. As unglamorous as they sound, they are a lot cheaper than traditional slices, and nobody will tell the difference once cut up really small.
5. Smoked salmon gratin
As much as this beautiful fish deserves to take centre stage, it also works well dotted into spectacular side dishes. A smoked salmon potato bake is perfect for dinner parties or something a little different for Sunday dinner.
6. Smoked salmon sushi and smaller bites
There are infinite opportunities to use smoked salmon in the wonderful world of canapés. The classic option is to serve a slice of the fish on a pancake or blini, but try it out in homemade sushi, in tortilla rolls with cream cheese, or on toasted crostini too.
7. Potted smoked salmon
Potted fish is a vastly underrated starter, traditionally made with crab, shrimps or mackerel. But a mix of both smoked and fresh salmon works a treat. Mary Cadogan’s version is a little like a paté in that the fish is flaked until fine and it’s spreadable. Pour the melted butter and lemon over the salmon and leave to set until a bright yellow hard layer has formed over the top. Divine!
8. Smoked salmon tart
Bake an indulgent tart combining smoked salmon with dill and cream, and experiment with a few capers and some sliced red onion. Serve with crispy salad and flavoured crème fraÎche and try adding wholegrain mustard, horseradish or lemon juice and black pepper.
9. Smoked salmon soup
Try adding smoked salmon to soup and achieve a finish similar to traditional Scottish cullen skink. Add your fish to a leek and potato base right at the end of cooking, so it retains its texture but impart that salty, smoked flavour.
10. Smoked salmon pasta
If you’ve not quite managed to make your way through a whole pack, use up those last few slices in a pasta dish. There are tons of ways to serve it, but typically it works well with lemon, crème frâiche and with light herbs like basil or dill. You could also try it in place of bacon in a carbonara.
We’ve got lots more smoked salmon recipes, or share your own. Leave a comment below…