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Kent Prepared Food Product of the Year 2021: Smoked Salmon - Tankerton Smokeshed

Tips and tricks from Tankerton Smokeshed

Tankerton Smokeshed Salmon photo 2


Five years ago, our friend Simon, the fishmonger at the Goods Shed, decided to move to London and work at The Borough Market. This left a void in the supply of his smoked salmon that had become a little Christmas Eve tradition and treat for my two beautiful children, Alex, and Emily. Emily said, “You love food Dad and I know you can make it.” To which Alex agreed adding “How difficult can it be.” I loved their optimism and lack of fear, but where do you start.

My grandmother always said that if you want to learn then you should find the best person to help you; and this came in the form of Mark Hix. As I was waiting for the fluid to be drained from my injured ear, during a Krav Maga lesson, I emailed Mark. Within the hour this celebrated chef had invited me to his restaurant in Selfridges for the day. The smoking was carried out on the roof of this London landmark. There I was taught the processes and techniques by Martin Sweeney, who I am still in contact with. It was then my responsibility to create my version of their iconic product. I will be forever grateful to both Mark Hix and Martin Sweeney for their generosity and kindness in sharing their knowledge.

I use Scottish salmon and cure it with a mixture of Maldon sea salt and unrefined dark Billington muscovado cane sugar. The precise proportion has been formulated over the years with the feedback of our customers. Michelle, of Café and Kitchen, Whitstable, who has been our longest and most loyal customer. She has become a good friend and whose opinion we value. After curing, the salmon is air dried so it forms a pellicle. The fillets are carefully loaded into the smoking chamber and smoked for 12 hours. The smoke is a mixture of apple, oak and cherry provided by my friend and woodsman Craig. The final part is setting the salmon in our fan assisted fridge where it loses more moisture, so that the flavours intensify. Every part of the process takes time. It cannot be rushed and there are no shortcuts to take.

Once the pin bones have been removed, I will slice the salmon with one of two of my favourite knives. It depends how much time I have, and which is the sharpest knife at the time of preparation. Sharpening on whetstones is a regular part of maintaining the cutting edge. My grandfather told my mother to always look after the tools of your trade and that is something that has been passed down to me.

The final part is to wrap the salmon in a double layer of chemical free paper, presented on a gold foiled board. Kept wrapped in the paper, in the fridge, will keep the salmon at its best.

Tips and tricks.

  • Keep the smoked salmon wrapped in the chemical free paper in the fridge so that it will last up to 10 days.
  • If you think you won’t consume it within 10 days then you can freeze it. Keep it wrapped in the paper provided and place into a plastic bag and seal. Check your freezer storage advice for your appliance. Write the date that you should use it by. When you are ready to use it then defrost the smoked salmon in the fridge.
  • If you are rushed for time, then you can let me do the hard work by choosing the sliced option. It will be sliced vertically and is the preferred cut of my mentor Mark Hix. A popular and generous slicing technique that is used in Scandinavia.
  • For the advanced and adventurous ask for the unsliced option. Making sure that you have sharpened your knife.
  • Each part of the salmon will taste different. From the head to the belly, it is smooth and buttery. As you move down towards the tail the fish is leaner and saltier.
  • Buying a gift voucher for the salmon will allow your friends or family to choose and arrange with us a suitable time for collection.
  • Order and collect directly from us on either Instagram, tankertonsmokeshed; Facebook, tankertonsmokeshed , or email, tankertonsmokeshed@yahoo.co.uk