Smoked Salmon with Sour Fennel Cucumbers
For the sour fennel cucumbers
1kg Lebanese cucumbers, cut into 3cm wedges
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
6 fennel fronds
2t fennel seeds
1t black mustard seeds
1t yellow mustard seeds
1t black peppercorns
500ml apple cider vinegar
500ml malt vinegar
¼ cup sugar
For the salmon
wood chips for smoking (hardwood sawdust can alternatively be used)
600g salmon fillet, skin on
sourdough bread, to serve
squeeze of lime juice, to serve
Place the cucumber wedges in a glass bowl and sprinkle salt on top. Mix it through and leave it to stand for 30 minutes.
Rinse the wedges and pack them into sterilised glass jars with the garlic, bay leaves, fennel fronds and spices.
Bring the vinegars and sugar to a boil in a non-corrosive pan until the sugar has dissolved. Let the liquid cool completely. Pour it into the jars, covering the cucumbers.
Seal the jars and refrigerate for a week.
To prepare the salmon, soak the wood chips, then place them in the bottom of a large pot (alternatively, use a wok, covered braai or smoking box.)
Place the salmon on a rack over the chips, not directly on them. Place the pot over a low heat and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Smoke the salmon for 15 to 20 minutes until it is cooked through (the time depends on the thickness).
Remove the salmon and use a fork to flake it from the skin into bite-size chunks. Serve it on slices of sourdough bread with the cucumbers and a squeeze of lime juice.
Originally published in HL May 2015