Seafood and smoke are a perfect flavor match. Be it shrimp, clams, mussels, octopus or squid, preparing them simply is key as their unique flavors shouldn’t be covered up with overpowering seasonings. Taking the time to add a touch of smoke will add a unique flavor to your seafood without compromising or covering up taste. Seafood is also fast food and can be prepared in minutes after cold smoking in a variety of ways. So whether you are digging your own clams, gathering mussels off the beach, shrimping in the ocean or visiting your local seafood market, try cold smoking seafood for a flavor you won’t forget.
Once seafood is cold smoked, it can be kept refrigerated up to two days. Cold smoking seafood does not fully cook it but the salt brine will partially preserve it. Most seafood, if it didn’t already come pre-cooked (like the mussels and clams shown in this recipe), only needs a few minutes to cook. Shrimp will turn pink when they are done and clams and mussels will open their shells. Any shellfish that doesn’t open should be discarded. Clams, mussels and oysters can be opened when raw and brined or steamed before smoking to open them up so they take on the smoke flavor. Always clean all shellfish of any sand or grit prior to steaming and smoking.
2 pounds assorted seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp, octopus, squid)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Smokehouse Apple or Alder BBQ Pellets
If using frozen seafood, thaw completely before brining. If fresh, be sure to properly clean and remove from shells or steam to open prior to brining and smoking.
In a large glass container, mix salt with water and add seafood, making sure it is fully submerged in the brine. Let seafood sit in the brine for 20-30 minutes.
Drain brine, do not rinse. Pat seafood dry and arrange on a drying screen. Place in a grill or smoker connected to the Smoke Chief Cold Smoke Generator. If Smoke Chief is not generating a solid stream of smoke from the pellet tube, clean with the enclosed clean-out tool.
Cold smoke seafood 45 minutes to an hour. Longer cold smoke time will result in a stronger smoke flavor.
Prepare seafood as desired; it only needs a few minutes on the grill or in the frying pan sautéed in butter and/or olive oil.
Cold Smoked Seafood Pasta
1 pound smoked seafood (remove meat from any shells)
6 ounces dry spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 cloves pureed garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat. Add smoked seafood and garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Add parsley and cooked noodles to skillet and sauté another minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.
Article and photos by Tiffany Haugen.
For a copy of Tiffany’s book, Cooking Seafood, go to www.tiffanyhaugen.com.