Savory smoked salmon quiche, sweet butternut squash tarts, a strip of smoked salmon and a mug of black French roast coffee make for a hearty Fisherman’s Breakfast.
Whether served as breakfast, lunch or dinner, we’re big fans of quiche. It’s easy to make, and since it’s delicious either hot or cold, there are no complaints about leftovers. In making this particular quiche, I set out to resolve two questions. First, would smoked salmon that has been frozen and then thawed work well, and second would the Penzeys dried shallots I’d recently gotten live up to their billing. I’m happy to report that the smoked salmon seemed to suffer not at all from freezing, and the dried shallots were flavorful enough to merit making them a standard part of our kitchen here in the Alaskan bush.
For the squash pie, I used a modification of Craig Claiborne’s pumpkin pie recipe that has long served well. Since the baking times and temperatures for these two pies was similar, I baked them together. We had a bit of squash purée and pie crust dough left over, so Barbra used a muffin pan to make a few squash tarts.
Smoked Salmon Quiche
1 pie crust
4 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyère cheese
1/4 cup shallots chopped fine (I used Penzeys dried shallots,which were excellent)
1/2 cup mushrooms, cut into less-than-bite-sized pieces
1/3 to 1/2 pound smoked salmon, cut into less-than-bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
1 tsp dried majoram
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pie crust for 20 minutes. Halfway through baking, cover edges with aluminum foil or a pie ring to prevent edge of crust from burning.
Remove the pie crust from the oven and set aside.
Turn oven up to 400 degrees F.
Whisk eggs until blended. Add cream, milk, shallots, marjoram, salt and pepper and mix together.
Add mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and smoked salmon, mixing together gently so as not to break up the salmon.
Pour and scrape ingredients into the baked pie crust and place on oven’s center rack. You do not need to place on a baking sheet.
Bake quiche at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Turn down oven to 350 degrees F. and continue baking for 25 – 35 minutes – until a wooden toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.
Serve hot or cold.
Butternut Squash Pie
1 pie crust
3 cups butternut squash (or pumpkin) purée
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
3 large eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons Bourbon (optional, but very tasty)
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Have a chilled, unbaked pie crust ready.
Squash purée: Cut away the stem of the squash and discard. Then slice squash into into round discs approximately 1 inch thick. Cut the disks into 4 to 6 parts. When you get to the bulb, remove the seeds and fibrous part and slice into 6 strips as you would a pumpkin or melon. Steam, oven roast or grill the squash until a fork passes easily through the flesh. Let cool and cut off the skin. Use a stick blender, regular blender or food processor to purée the squash.
Combine the purée with all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl, blend together, and pour into the chilled pie crust.
Place on oven’s center rack. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and continue baking for 30 or 40 minutes, until the filling is set. Cracks will begin to appear on the surface of the pie when the filling is set.
Serve warm or chilled, with or without whipped cream.
Smoked salmon is a highly anticipated delicacy. With another successful fishing season behind us, I used a tried and true recipe to turn out several pounds worth.
Smoked salmon mousse, smoked salmon omeletes, smoked salmon on pasta, and smoked salmon on crackers are among the many great reasons to set aside a couple of days and smoke part of your catch. Once you’ve done a batch of smoked fish, it’s easy to appreciate why it’s expensive. Smoking takes time. But the results are very much worth it. There’s really not much to our favorite recipe. From year to year and batch to batch, I might vary the amount of garlic or ginger or try a new spice or seasoning. But other than that… well, here it is.
Smoked salmon pizza always draws rave reviews.
Smoked Salmon with Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar Brine
The basic recipe is 4 parts water to 1 part soy sauce with 1/4 cup sea salt for every cup of soy sauce. Figure about 1 cup brine per pound of fish. Add brown sugar, garlic and ginger to taste. White pepper, cayenne pepper, and other seasonings and spices can be added to create unique brines.
Pyrex clear glass bakeware with their plastic lids is perfect for marinating the fillets. If you’re using a Big Chief or Little Chief smoker, the metal racks fit atop the empty Pyrex containers – and with the fillets atop the racks this setup works well for drying the fillets in the refrigerator prior to smoking.
Ingredients: For eight pounds of salmon, trout, sturgeon or other fish
8 pounds fillets, skin on, rinsed, patted dry, cut into small pieces (a good size is about 3″ x 6″, but smaller or slightly larger is fine)
8 cups water
2 cups soy sauce (Kikkoman is our favorite)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sea salt or kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp ginger
Arrange salmon fillets in glass baking dishes or similar non-reactive containers.
Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour mixture over fillets, making sure they are covered, or until they float.
Cover containers and marinate for about 8 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator.
Remove fillets from brine, pat dry with paper towels, and arrange on racks to dry in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours (or overnight)
Smoke fish according to your smoker’s directions with alder wood, mesquite, fruit tree or hickory chips. Check frequently, keeping in mind that air temperature will influence smoking time. Typical smoking times range from 6 to 8 hours. A slightly wet product is best suited for many of the recipes we enjoy. For straight snacking, a drier product may be preferred.
Don’t have a smoker? Excellent smoked fish can be made on a charcoal grill. I’ve done small batches on my little Weber Smokey Joe and larger batches on Weber’s larger models.
Looking for a recipe to use your smoked salmon in? Type “smoked salmon” into the search tool on this page for some great ideas.
Large Alaskan scallops (from Kodiak) rolled in Thai Seasoning, pan-seared, and arranged on freshly made linguini topped with wilted spinach, sweet onion, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. We brought five pounds of frozen scallops with us to the bush this year–and are happy to have done so!
I don’t use many pre-blended spices, but a good Thai seasoning blend has long been an exception. These days I’ve been using The Spice Hunter’s Thai Seasoning, but Spice Islands Thai Seasoning is (was?) very good as well. (I’ve been unable to find it in any Anchorage grocery store.) My guess is Penzeys Bangkok Blend is at least as tasty.
A little heat, a hint of sweet, Thai blends are great for spicing up squash or pumpkin soup, stir fry, or as a rub on chicken, pork, shellfish and fish.
The above scallops are a cinch. Roll the scallops (or shrimp, or pieces of fresh fish) in Thai seasoning and set aside. After that, you need bit of olive oil heated to medium high in a frying pan, a pair of tongs to move the scallops around to sear all sides, and about about one minute total cooking time for the scallops. (Don’t overcook them–even after removed from the pan, they’ll continue to cook, and they do not need to be hot when served.)
This dish is as good an excuse as I can think of to pop the cork on one of Oregon’s exquisite Pinot Gris.