Sous Vide “Raw” Instant-Smoked Salmon

Raw Smoked Salmon-1
Low and slow… it’s true for sous vide, and its definitely true for smoking.  And, if you live in Seattle, you probably know that one of the worlds best smoked foods is salmon.  Smoked salmon has a wonderfully rich and concentrated flavor, but unfortunately it also has the texture of wet leather.  For this recipe, I used a Smoking Gun – a remarkable little device that creates a cold, concentrated smoke that can be captured in a container, or in this case, a vacuum bag [Disclosure: the Smoking Gun I used was a demo unit provided by PolyScience.]  The result: instant smoky flavor.  Then, we delicately cook the salmon to just above rare, which retains the fish’s buttery texture.

Total kitchen time: 25 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 2 salmon fillets, about 15mm thick
  • 1 tsp. smoked salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat your water bath to 45.5°C.  [Note: Consuming undercooked fish blah blah blah.  Some people will cook their salmon at 39°C, but that’s a little rare even for my taste.  If you’re squeamish, crank up the temp to 52°C.]
  2. Remove the skin from the salmon fillets (reserve for frying, if you want.)  Divide the salt and pepper between the fillets and coat both sides.  Place the fillets, together or individually) into vacuum seal bags, but don’t seal them yet.
  3. Prepare an ice bath large enough for the salmon fillets in their bags.
  4. Load a Smoking Gun with hickory wood shavings.  Insert the exhaust hose into the open end of the bag and fold over the open edge to partially seal the bag.


  5. Turn on the Smoking Gun and light the wood chips.  Smoke the entire bowl into the bag, retaining as much smoke as possible. 
  6. Holding the open end of the bag up, submerge the bag into the ice bath for a few seconds to condense the remaining smoke.  Seal the open end in the vacuum sealer.
  7. Cook the salmon in the water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove and serve.

Given the soft texture of the salmon, I thought it would be good to pair it with something crunchy.  I fried kale leaves in grapeseed oil for a few seconds per side (look out for major oil splatter!) and roasted asparagus with olive oil and rosemary salt.  I also fried the leftover salmon skin until it was slightly crispy and used it to wrap the asparagus.  This is one of my new favorite salmon preparations, and I can’t wait to see what else I can instant-smoke!

Smoked Salmon in Parmesan Coronets

smoked salmon cones 
Coronets may be a little oldschool, but I’m a sucker for shapely finger food.  These fish cones are a little labor intensive, but totally worth it.  Plus, there’s something I love about toiling over the intricate details of hors d’oeuvres in anticipation of a party.  If you don’t have coronet molds lying around, you can use large pastry tips, or anything else cone-shaped to roll the parmesan crisps into a lovely conical form.

Makes: about 9 cones
Total kitchen time: 1 hour

Special equipment

Shopping list:

  • 1 lb. parmesan cheese, very finely shredded
  • 1/2 lb. lox (smoked salmon fillet)
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. chives, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • crème fraîche, to garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and place the top rack in the middle of the oven. 
  2. Prepare the silplat on a baking sheet.  Place the pastry ring on the silplat and gently sprinkle with an even layer of the shredded parmesan.  The layer should only be thick enough so that there are no large holes.  Repeat, leaving at least 1” of space between circles.  You’ll probably have to make parmesan rounds in 2 batches.
  3. Lightly salt the parmesan rounds and bake for 5-7 minutes.  Keep a close eye on the rounds – once the cheese is completely melted and just barely starting to brown around the outer edges, remove the pan from the oven and rest it on the open oven door.  The heat from the door will keep the cheese soft and warm as you shape the rounds into cones.
  4. Working one by one, roll each round of cheese onto a coronet mold and place on a stack of paper towels to dry.  The cheese will be hot to touch, and you may want to use an offset spatula to help lift the first edge of cheese off the silplat.
  5. Once all of the cheese rounds have been formed onto the molds, let them rest for at least 10 minutes to cool.  Wipe any grease off the silplat, then return the cheesy molds to the baking sheet and bake 2-3 minutes more, until lightly browned.  Its important to keep the molds in for this step, otherwise your cones will deflate into triangles.  Place the cones on paper towels to drain until ready to serve.  Can be made the day before and refrigerated.
  6. Using a knife (not a food processor) finely chop the salmon lox.  In a large bowl, smash the butter with the back of a fork until it is lightly whipped.  Stir in the salmon, shallot, chives and lemon juice.  Can be made up to 4 hours ahead and covered and refrigerated.
  7. When you’re ready to serve, pipe the salmon mixture into the cones carefully using a pastry bag with a wide tip (or no tip at all).  The cones will be very fragile, so you may want to recruit a second pair of hands for this part of the operation.
  8. Finally, using a small, decorative tip, pipe a dollop of crème fraîche on top of the salmon.  Serve on a platter, or standing up on a plate full of holes!

Smoked Salmon and Mascarpone Calzone


This recipe was inspired by a recent visit to Piroshky Piroshky, the small, wonderful-smelling Russian bakery in the Pike Place market.  They make some of my favorite street food, and I can’t make a trip to Pike Place without stopping by for a snack.  On my latest trip, I tried their salmon paté piroshky (a piroshky is a stuffed, flaky, handheld pie) and it was divine.  This “calzone” doesn’t attempt to recreate the salmon piroshky, but was simply inspired by it.  The mascarpone cheese melts away during baking, leaving the rich smoked salmon moist and delicious. 

Makes: 2 Coho Calzones
Total kitchen time: 30 minutes