Photography credited to Mike Searle
Smoking fish is really cool, as it takes a normal piece of fish to a new level with a richer, deeper flavour. Smoking your own gives a great sense of satisfaction and you really appreciate that new flavour. If you have friends around it's great to get everyone involved in the process... No one minds waiting for dinner when they've learned a new skill.
There are two methods used in smoking fish: hot and cold. Cold smoking is a more involved process, but hot smoking is something you can try yourself with only a few simple materials.
Source a rectangular metal biscuit tin, the type people often exchange around the holidays. Flip the tin upside down and use a hammer and nail to perforate the bottom – you want loads of holes. Now flip it back over and fill it halfway with wood chips or shavings, which you can obtain from a local joiner. Alternatives you could use include pine needles or twigs.
A good-sized tin will fit a couple of fish; just lay your fish on top of the fuel or prop it up on two pieces of kindling if you prefer. You need a fierce heat to get things going, so a match won’t do – use a blowtorch instead. Next, take a deep breath and blow hard to get the fire started. Now replace the tin’s lid.
Every so often check to make sure the fuel inside is smouldering, and relight it if needed. It’s also a good idea to put the whole tin on your barbeque or a fire pit. After 15 or 20 minutes, remove the fish from your tin. (If your fillets are quite thick and haven’t cooked all the way through, you can always finish off cooking them quickly in a pan.) Last, but not least, dig in and enjoy the lovely smoky flavour.
To get a copy of the Surf Cafe Living cookbook, packed with lots more tasty recipes plus tips for styling your home at www.thesurfcafecookbook.com.