salmon grounds an omelet, with capers for a bright
lift and a topping of chopped tomatoes, onions and
grandfather, a bricklayer by trade, fashioned his own
smokehouse under the stairwell of a small Chicago bungalow.
He filled it with fresh hams, homemade bacon and garlicky
sausage to smoke for the family. The steps just outside that
brick room proved the perfect gossip spot for my cousins and
me. We always left his house smelling faintly of hardwood
smoke and garlic.
wonder then, that given the choice, I gravitate toward
smoked meats, cheese and fish. The aroma always transports
me. When I cook, I enjoy adding smoke to everything I can
ó even if itís just the addition of smoked paprika or
smoked chiles. This summer Iím using my grill to smoke
fish ó no masonry skills required.
smoked on a hot grill retains its moistness beautifully. Itíll
also be less smoky than foods cooked in a smoker with an
offset firebox or the vertical bullet smokers that let you
smoke at relatively low temperatures. Grill smoking doesnít
preserve the fish like cold smoking does; itís meant to be
enjoyed right away.
equals smoke; choose chips that will impart a flavor you
like. For fish, I prefer chips made from cherry or apple
wood because they donít overpower the delicate flavors.
Wood chips can be purchased from hardware stores that stock
grills and accessories or online. Soaking the wood chips in
water for 20 or 30 minutes will help create maximum smoke
when put over the glowing embers of the grill. For smoking
on a gas grill, simply put the soaked and drained chips in
the smoke chamber if the grill has one; alternatively, lay
the chips on a double thickness of foil and set the packet
directly over the heat source.
this fast smoking method, employ the indirect grilling
method ó that is, cook the food away from the heat source,
not directly over it. This means the fish can be on the
grill a little longer to absorb maximum smoke without
burning or drying. If you have the option, position the lid
of the grill with the vent directly over the fish to help
pull smoke over the fish as much as possible.
options I like for this smoking method include fattier,
meatier varieties such as salmon, tuna, sea bass and black
cod. Trout and Pacific halibut likewise taste great with a
bit of smoke. In all cases, purchase nice thick fillets or
steaks with the skin on when possible to help retain
brief marinade in balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce
adds subtle sweetness, color and flavor; a few drops of
natural liquid hickory smoke underscore the aroma. Brushing
the fish before and after itís cooked with melted smoky
bacon fat makes me swoon.
always smoke-grill extra fish to have on hand for a weekend
omelet. Or, I break cold smoked fish into large pieces to
top a salad tossed with a creamy dressing. Smoked fish
fillets transform into a yummy topping for crusty buttered
toast. Or, stir smoked fish into softened cream cheese with
chives and sun-dried tomato bits for delicious spread.
smoked fish with a simple topping of diced ripe tomatoes, a
drizzle of olive oil and plenty of black pepper.
Alternatively, top it with diced avocado and a drizzle of
thinned creme fraiche and fresh chives.
side dish, I grill thin slices of summer squash and large
mushroom caps over the hottest portion of the grill until
golden. The recipe for smashed hash browns that follows
tastes great with the grill-smoked fish or the omelets. Make
it in advance and reheat it just as the fish comes off the
WOOD SMOKE-GRILLED FISH
4 to 6 servings
salmon, tuna, seabass and black cod here.
generous cup cherry wood chips
fillets, each about 1 1/2 inches thick and 8 to 10 ounces
tablespoons balsamic vinegar
tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground black pepper
teaspoon natural liquid hickory smoke, optional
tablespoon melted bacon drippings, or more to taste,
ripe tomato and chives
wood chips into a bowl of water to cover and let soak at
least 30 minutes.
Rinse fish; pat dry and place in a large zip-close plastic
food bag. Mix the vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and
liquid smoke, if using, in a small dish until the salt
dissolves. Pour over the fish; close the bag and turn to bag
to evenly distribute the marinade over all the surfaces of
the fish. Refrigerate, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a gas grill to high or prepare a charcoal
grill and let burn until coals are covered with gray ash.
Move the coals to one side of the grill or turn off some of
the burners on the gas grill.
Drain the wood chips and place them on the hot coals. (Or,
place on a double thickness of foil and place the packet
over the heat source on the gas grill.) Put the grill grate
in place and cover the grill to let the smoke develop and
the grill grate heat up.
Remove the fish from the marinade and pat dry. If using,
brush the fish with the bacon drippings. Place the fish on
the grill away from the heat source. Cook, without turning,
until the fish almost flakes easily with a fork, 13 to 15
minutes. (For thin fillets, cook 8 to 10 minutes.)
Brush with more bacon fat if desired, then remove fish with
a thin metal spatula. Serve warm topped with tomatoes and
chives. Or, refrigerate up to 3 days and serve cold or at
information per serving: 246 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g
saturated fat, 96 mg cholesterol, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g
sugar, 34 g protein, 100 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
smoked fish, such as trout or salmon, can be used in this
omelet. Reduce the salt added to the eggs if the smoked fish
is very salty. I like to serve this omelet with thick slices
of country bread, brushed with olive oil and broiled until
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
ounces smoked fish, such as halibut, whitefish, salmon,
broken into large chunks
teaspoons drained capers, rinsed
tablespoons very finely sliced red onion, rinsed
slices tomato, diced
tablespoons chopped fresh chives
eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper in a pitcher until
smooth. Set the fish, capers, onion, tomato and chives near
the work surface.
Heat a small (7 inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat
until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Reduce the heat to
medium and add enough oil to coat pan nicely. When the oil
starts to be aromatic, pour in half of the egg mixture. Use
a fork to gently pull the eggs that start to set into the
center of the pan; tip the pan a little to allow the liquid
eggs to run underneath. Keep moving the eggs in this manner
until no liquid eggs remain. Let omelet cook, undisturbed,
about 30 seconds, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent
over-browning the eggs. Put half of the smoked fish over the
eggs on one side of the skillet. Top with the capers. Loosen
the edge of the omelet with a heatproof spatula, then
carefully roll the omelet out onto a serving plate,
enclosing the fish as you roll.
Sprinkle the onion, tomato and chives over all. Serve
immediately. Repeat to make the second omelet.
information per serving: 358 calories, 18 g fat, 7 g
saturated fat, 597 mg cholesterol, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g
sugar, 41 g protein, 970 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
pounds small potatoes, such as multi-color fingerlings
3 to 4
tablespoons oil for high-heat cooking, such as safflower or
medium red onion, halved, thinly sliced
tablespoons butter, or more as desired
ground black pepper
tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs such as a combination
of sage, rosemary and thyme
Scrub potatoes clean. Put into a large saucepan and add cold
water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the water.
Heat to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, set
the lid on slightly askew and cook until potatoes are
fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.
Heat 1 large (12-inch) or 2 medium heavy skillets,
preferably seasoned cast iron, over medium-high heat until
drops of water added to the pan(s) sizzle on contact.
1/8-inch of oil to pan(s). Add the potatoes and onion
(dividing if necessary). Working carefully so you donít
get burned, use a potato masher or a heavy mallet to smash
the potatoes to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Reduce heat to
medium and let potatoes crisp without turning, about 10
minutes. While they crisp, skewer the butter on a fork and
move it around the inside of the skillet letting it melt
down into the potatoes.
a flexible spatula to flip the potatoes. Crisp the other
side, adding more butter as desired, another 5 to 10
minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, lots of fresh
pepper and the herbs. Mix well and serve.
information per serving: 284 calories, 16 g fat, 4 g
saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 3 g
sugar, 4 g protein, 13 mg sodium, 4 g fiber