Certain kitchen toys open up a world of possibilities. Sometimes you buy a tool that either has a plethora of uses or simply is the exact tool for precisely the job you need. I feel that way about some of my own home studio purchases, like the perfectly portable electric piano, or my on-the-go sampler/keyboard I often used on my laptop during flights or long trips. I also felt that way about my first smoking gun.
No, not incontrovertible crime-scene evidence, I mean a cold-smoking gun. I love the flavor of smoke. I think most people would agree with me. I’d venture to guess that when people say they love barbecue or bacon, what they really love is crispy, fatty, smoky food. So many things taste even better smoked. Meats. Fish. All manner of cheeses. Even liquids can be enhanced with a smoky note. (smoked bourbon, anyone?)
I thought of the idea of cold smoking my own fish instead of buying pre-smoked whitefish. You could ostensibly buy any cooked canned fish and smoke it, but in my case I was attempting to minimize waste. After the fishmonger at the wharf finished filleting my fish for a separate dish, I asked to keep the frames (heads and bones) to take home. I roasted them in the oven and then left them to cool before picking out all those good bits of meat that often get missed.
1 cup cold white fish (or a cup of fish frame remnants, roasted, cooled and picked from the bones)
1 rib celery, chopped
1 small shallot, diced
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp pickle relish
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp brown deli mustard
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 radishes, thinly sliced (a mandoline works best)
½ small red onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
Crackers or tortilla chips, to serve
Mix the first nine ingredients in an airtight container. Use the smoking gun to add smoke to the fish, then seal and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
To serve, sprinkle the fish with smoked paprika. Layer the tomato, avocado, and onion on the smoked fish, and top with the sliced radishes. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.