Thursday, April 14, 2011


For the April #charcutepalooza, the challenge was smoking. Much to my relief, and really not to my surprise given her remarkably well equipped kitchen, it turned out that Lisa owned both a smoker and a "big orange egg." So rather macgyering up something in my kitchen, we simply had to wait for a nice day. It took us two tries to get our "Day of Smoking." But, on a positive note, the drought warnings have been lifted in California.
As has been our wont on canning projects, we decided to try a few projects. I bought a piece of pork loin from Marin Sun Farms at the Ferry Building and coated it with a spice rubbed based on that in Charcuterie. Pork was rubbed, covered in plastic wrap and then refrigerated for 2 days before smoking in the "Sultan".  Lisa bought three kinds of fish and mussels at Monterey Fish in Berkeley: salmon, black cod and sturgeon. She brined overnight and then air dried in the fridge for 24 hours before smoking. We supplemented our charcoal with alder chips. Of course, we also did a taste test of our fish versus some Lisa had purchased. Our conclusion: our fish was a bit salty and also less smokey, but a few additional wood chips helped with that. Both of us agreed that the black cod was our favorite.

And what to do with the fish? Lisa's answer:
What to do with overly salty smoked fish, the result of too long brining of thin, skinless fish:  use as seasoning in fish stew.

I used the pound of un-smoked mussels left over from our day of smoking; a 16 oz. jar of tomato juice (technically tomato water) from last summer's tomato canning extravaganza; some green garlic, leeks and cilantro from my CSA box; some previously-roasted celery root; and some potatoes that I steamed last weekend.  I added a little marash chili and dried thyme; the smoked fish (about a handful of salmon and sturgeon) added all the salt and some nice texture.  After tasting, the tomato was too dominant so I added about 1/2 cup of Sauvingon Blanc.  This was a great way to use a bunch of stuff from my CSA box and the smoked fish didn't overwhelm the stew with saltiness.

-Saute 3 stalks of green garlic and 3 smallish leeks in olive oil along with the spices until the leeks and garlic are translucent
-Add tomato juice and bring to light boil
-Add all the other ingredients except cilantro and cook until the mussels are open, about 5 minutes.
-garnish with chopped cilantro

Taste and adjust seasonings.

The stew just before adding cilantro:

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