It’s got to be done: a whole salmon fillet on the table come holiday season will earn you serious kudos! This tea-smoked version adds that little bit of pizazz to proceedings, and doesn’t need any fancy equipment. Delicate, sticky and succulent, you can serve it with an array of sides – in bao buns, will salad, vegetables, or fresh crunchy sourdough.
1 x 800g (1.7 lb) salmon fillet
lemon wedges, to serve
finely chopped dill, to serve
½ cup loose black tea
½ cup rice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
4 whole star anise
¼ cup honey
¼ cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp dark soy sauce
Quick pickled cucumber:
1 large Lebanese or Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
For the quick pickled cucumber, in a large bowl, combine the cucumber, sugar, vinegar and salt. Use your hands to rub the mixture into the cucumber slices. Set aside for 20-30 minutes. Squeeze and discard the liquid from the cucumbers. Mix the pickled cucumber slices with mint and dill.
Place the salmon onto a piece of baking paper.
Use 2 sheets of foil to create a shallow ‘bowl’ in the bottom of a wok. In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the smoking mix. Spread the mixture over the foil in the bottom of the wok, being careful not to let any of the mixture touch the wok itself. Set a wire cake rack above the mixture and place the wok over high heat. Once the mixture starts to smoke, transfer the salmon (with the baking paper underneath) onto the wire rack. Cover tightly with a lid or foil. Smoke for 15 minutes without lifting the lid or foil.
For the glaze, place the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside for later.
Preheat oven grill to high.
Transfer the salmon to a baking tray. Brush the salmon with the glaze. Place under the grill for 10-15 minutes or until the top turns a deep brown colour and the salmon is cooked through. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with dill. Serve warm or cold with lemon wedges and quick pickled cucumber on the side.
– You can serve this with lots of different sides – e.g. my quick pickled cucumber or a green salad or coleslaw or with toasted sour dough and mayonnaise to make bruschetta.