HOME-SMOKED SALMON with LENTIL SALAD
1 wild-caught salmon fillet, about 2 pounds
1 quart cool water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup tomatoes, peel, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 ear of corn, cooked, kernels stripped from the cob
1/2 teaspoon French mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely snipped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Directions: the day before serving:
Submerge the salmon fillets in a quart of water in which 2 tablespoon of kosher salt has been desolved. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the fish from this light brine 1 hour before smoking. Lay the fillet, skin side down on the oiled smoker rack.
Heat 30 coals in your smoker or grill until they are white hot. Boil a quart of water to fill the pan. Soak 3 handfuls of wood chips for flavoring. When the coals are hot, place it on the bottom of the smoker. Fill the water pan with boiling water and insert it above the coals. Place the fish on the rack on top. Cover the smoker, toss in the first handful of soaked wood chips and let cook for 20 minutes. Repeat twice more, then let the fish smoke undisturbed at least one more hour.
Gently dislodge the salmon from the rack and allow it to cool to room temperature. It may be covered tightly and refrigerated for 2-3 days. The flavor improves over this time. Let the salmon warm to room temperature before serving.
Whisk vinegar into the mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil, stirring constantly. Fold in the dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Rinse and pick over the lentils. Cover in a saucepan with 2" water. Stir in the bay leaf and garlic cloves. Bring liquid to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, partially covered, until the beans are just tender.
Drain the lentils, remove bay leaf and garlic cloves. When cool fold in the tomatoes, cucumber and corn kernels. Fold all but 2 tablespoons of the dill vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
Place a radicchio leaf on each plate. Fill the leaf with lentil salad. Overlap a portion of smoked salmon. Spoon remaining vinaigrette over the salmon pieces. Sprinkle on dill sprigs.
Yield: 8 servings