On this episode of Savvy, Patrick Connolly, chef and owner of Rider in Williamsburg, explains a simple process for making smoked fish at home without a proper smoker — and then, how to use the fish in a dish he serves at his restaurant in Brooklyn. Watch the video above for a visual how-to (hint: the process involves hotel pans and applewood chips), and follow along with the recipe below.
How to Make a Home Smoker
NOTE: This should not been done indoors unless you have a powerful, industrial-strength extractor fan.
Put the chips in a saute pan on your grill and light them to smolder. Alternatively, make a divot in the coals of your grill.
Create a small cup out of aluminum foil and place the wood chips inside it — place this cup in the divot and light the chips to smolder.
When smoking your fish, do not put the fish directly above the smoking chips. Instead, place the fish slightly to the side, and close your grill’s hood to smoke.
Optional: alert your neighbors.
Smoked Hake Toast
1 quart water
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon red chili flake
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound hake
Handful applewood chips
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon fresh grated horseradish
¼ pound whipped cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the first six ingredients in a large pot and bring them to a boil. After mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Once liquid is completely cool, place the cleaned hake in the mixture for two hours. This can be done a day ahead of time.
After the two hours, place the applewood chips in your smoker (instructions for making this in the video and below). Smoke the hake, slightly offset from the chips, for thirty min to an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350℉. After the hake has been smoked, place on a baking tray in your oven until cooked through, about 10 min. Once the hake is fully cooked and can flake easily, place in the fridge to cool.
Place cream cheese in a bowl; fold in minced chives. Break the cooled fish up completely and fold in. Lastly, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, and serve on toasted bread with watercress, lemon zest and grated fresh horseradish. If you don’t have fresh horseradish, substitute prepared horseradish and fold in with the chives above.