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How to Cook Lightly Smoked Salmon with Recipes

By Edited Sep 20, 2016 0 1

Smoked salmon usually comes in one of two forms: hot smoked or cold smoked. The difference between the two is fairly simple but extremely profound. In the case of hot smoking, the salmon will be placed directly above the heat source, which causes it to be cooked in a conventional sense as well as smoked. In the instance of cold smoking, the salmon is contained in a chamber away from the heat source in to which the smoke is channeled. Sometimes, it is possible to obtain a different variety of smoked salmon where the fish has been smoked only very briefly, causing it to take on some of the associated flavor but leaving it largely uncooked and uncured, meaning it requires cooking in a method similar to unsmoked fillets.

Lightly Smoked Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Lightly smoked salmon fillets

There are several popular ways of cooking fresh salmon fillets but with the lightly smoked variety, they are not always appropriate. While poaching is an excellent way of cooking unsmoked fillets to ensure they are served succulent and tender, this cooking method would cause most of the smoky flavor from these fillets to be lost to the cooking liquid. Baking the fillets in the oven or cooking them in foil on the outdoor grill would work but this method does not afford the precise control over the cooking process afforded by pan frying so it is this latter technique that was employed with the fillets featured in the following recipes.

Lightly Smoked Salmon with Conchiglie Pasta and Salsa

Lightly Smoked Salmon with Conchigle Pasta and Salsa
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pan fried lightly smoked salmon fillet is served on a bed of salsa infused conchiglie pasta

This first recipe sees the fillet cooked just about as simply as possible that the subtle smoky flavor may be appreciated in full.

Ingredients (Serves 1)

Salsa Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Principal ingredients for simple salsa

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 inch piece of English/hothouse cucumber
  • 1 medium strength and size red chili
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup dried conchiglie pasta shells (or as desired)
  • 6 ounce lightly smoked salmon fillet, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Little bit of butter


Seeding Tomatoes and Cucumber
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tomatoes and cucumber are seeded before being diced

Cut the tomatoes and cucumber piece in half as shown and scoop out all the seeds with a teaspoon. Moderately finely dice.

Mixing Salsa
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salsa ingredients are added to a mixing bowl

Put the cucumber and tomato in to a small bowl. Peel and grate in the garlic clove. Seed and finely dice the chili before adding to the bowl along with the parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Stir well and refrigerate to let the flavors infuse while you cook the pasta and salmon.

Cooking Pasta
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pasta is added to a pot of boiling salted water

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and stir briefly but well. Adjust the heat to achieve and maintain a moderate simmer for ten minutes.

Flouring Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salmon fillet is patted in seasoned flour

Put the vegetable oil and butter in to a small non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium to high heat. Scatter the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Pat the salmon fillet in the flour on its skin side only and gently shake off any excess.

Frying Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salmon is added to hot frying pan

Lay the salmon fillet in the pan skin side down. Season the flesh with salt and pepper and continue to fry over a medium to high heat. The skin will protect the flesh from over cooking.

Almost Ready Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salmon can be seen to be cooked most of the way through

Watch the salmon as it cooks and after around three minutes you should see that it is cooked around two-thirds of the way up the side. At this point, turn the heat off under the pan but leave it in place on the stove top.

Turned Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

The residual heat in the pan is enough to complete the salmon cooking on its flesh side

Carefully turn the fillet and leave it for about a minute to complete cooking in the residual heat of the pan only.

Pasta and Salsa
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salsa is added to drained pasta

Drain the pasta well through a colander at your sink before returning it to the empty pot. Add the salsa and stir with a wooden spoon.

Pasta and Salsa Bed
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pasta and salsa are plated

Spoon the pasta in to a deep plate and spread it out to form a bed for the fish.

Peeled Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Skin is peeled from salmon fillet

Peel the crisped up skin away from the salmon fillet and lift it on to the pasta. Garnish with the last of the chopped parsley.

Salmon Laid on Pasta
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salmon fillet is lifted on to pasta bed

Spicy Cheesy Salmon Fillet with Pan Roasted Potatoes

The salmon fillet in this recipe is topped with a deliciously spicy cheese topping for an extra layer of flavor.

Spicy Cheesy Salmon Fillet with Pan Roasted Potatoes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy cheese crusted salmon fillet with pan roasted new potatoes

Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 8 to 10 baby new potatoes, or as required
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated/shredded cheddar or other hard cheese
  • 1 small red chili
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Black pepper
  • 6 ounce lightly smoked salmon fillet, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Little bit of butter


Boiling Potatoes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potatoes are initially cooked by boiling

Put the potatoes in to a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a simmer for twenty to twenty-five minutes to fully cook the potatoes. Drain, return to the empty pot and allow to steam off for ten minutes. Cover and leave to cool completely.

Cheese, Chili and parsley
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Cheese, chili and parsley

In many recipes, chilies can be used with the seeds in or removed. In this instance, the seeds really should be removed before the chili is finely diced

Combining Cheese, Chili and Parsley
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Combining cheesy topping ingredients

Put the cheese, chili, parsley and some black pepper in to a bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon.

Deep Frying Potatoes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potatoes are deep fried in hot oil

Bring your deep fryer or a deep pan of oil up to a fairly high heat. Cut the potatoes in half but leave them unpeeled. Deep fry for four or five minutes until crisp and golden.

Skinned Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Skin is peeled away from salmon fillet

Put your broiler (overhead kitchen grill) on to preheat to its highest setting.

The salmon is cooked in exactly the same way as in the previous recipe right up to the stage of the skin being removed.

Cheese Topped Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy cheese is scattered over salmon

Carefully spread the cheese combination over what was the skin side of the salmon fillet. Put the pan under your broiler for a minute or two until the cheese is fully melted.

Roast Potatoes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potatoes are drained on kitchen paper

Lift the potato halves from the hot oil and lay on a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain. Season with salt and optionally with a little malt vinegar.

Cheesy Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Cheesy salmon fillet is plated

Lift the salmon fillet on to a serving plate and arrange the potatoes alongside.

Eating Cheesy Salmon
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Enjoying cheesy salmon and roast potatoes



Aug 7, 2016 10:41am
These recipes are for Atlantic salmon, aren't they? They sound delicious, but probably wouldn't work for Pacific smoked salmon which has a completely different texture (differently textured fish with a different smoking process). We usually enjoy our Pacific salmon "as is" without any additional preparation.
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