Rick Moonen, nationally acclaimed chef and owner of Rick Moonen’s rm seafood in Las Vegas, supports Alaska's wild fisheries, some of the world's most sustainable and healthy ecosystems. His Fruitwood smoked Bristol Bay Salmon recipe is a compliment to the freshness, flavor, and versatility of this wild fish.
Property of Rick Moonen’s rm seafood
YIELDS: 4 main course servings.
To prepare the salad:
Peel the cucumbers, trim the ends, and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds by scooping out the centers of the cucumbers with a teaspoon. Slice cucumbers crosswise into ¼” pieces, place them into a colander fitted over a bowl, and toss with salt. Weigh the cucumbers down lightly with another bowl fitted inside the colander, and place cucumbers in the refrigerator. Drain for a minimum 2 hours, overnight is better. Transfer cucumbers to a mixing bowl and toss with the onion. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar, pour vinegar over the top of the cucumbers, and toss in the dill. Let stand, marinating in the refrigerator, for at least one hour before serving.
YIELDS: About 1½ cups
Whisk the ingredients together, cover with plastic, and refrigerate overnight, if you have the time. If you don’t, try to make it at least 30 minutes in advance. Adjust the consistency with half and half.
To brine the salmon:
Pour the water into a large bowl and stir in salt and sugar. Place salmon filets into flat pan large enough for them to fit it side-by-side. Cover with brine solution and let soak for at least 2 hours.
To smoke the salmon
Heat 1 or 2 natural charcoal briquets until glowing red. You can do this right over an open flame, as in a gas burner on the stove in your kitchen, or lay the briquets in a grill. Meanwhile, have a cold smoker at hand, salmon fillets inside, on the racks, skin-side down. Once red hot, transfer the charcoal briquets to the charcoal attachment on the cold smoker. Sprinkle the briquets with powdered apple wood chips and seal them into the smoker. Allow salmon to smoke for anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour, depending on the size of your smoker (the smaller it is, the faster the salmon will smoke). You can tell the salmon is done when you remove a fillet, and the smoky aroma of apple wood is clearly evident on the salmon.
To prepare taro frisée chips:
Peel the taro root and shred on a Japanese mandolin. Fry until golden and crispy. Season with salt.
To sear the salmon:
Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Place a large, oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When hot, add salmon fillets, skin side down. Place ½ tsp butter next to each fillet, and shake pan to slide butter underneath salmon. Cook salmon 2 minutes. Transfer pan to the oven and cook 3 more minutes. Remove from oven and transfer salmon to a warm platter.
Mound one quarter of the cucumber salad into the center of each plate, and top with one salmon fillet, skin-side up. Surround with one quarter of sauce. Garnish with Taro crisps.
*To make fresh horseradish, take 1 root of horseradish, peel, and cut it into medium-sized chunks with a knife. Place horseradish chunks in food processor and puree, adding about 1 cup water, ½ cup of white vinegar and a tsp salt. Stop and press on the horseradish to see if liquid covers it by about ¼”. Transfer to an airtight container and reserve.