Smoked fish is something that the Pacific Northwest is famed for, and as such we think it’s the perfect product to highlight this month!
Here at Oak Bay Seafood, we’re proud to be able to carry on that tradition with a wide range of the very best smoked fish and seafood, so read on to find out more about the process, and some of the amazing fish and seafood you can order directly from us.
A Quick History Of Smoked Fish
The practice of smoking food — and in particular fish — is something that has been commonly practiced for thousands of years. Originating as a process of preserving meat and fish, it was helpful for both storage and preservation. This is because of the acidic coating the smoke creates, which helps to prevent oxidation and slow bacterial growth, as well as the dehydrating effect the smoking process has.
Since those days, the process of smoking fish has evolved, with some of the first recorded commercial fish smokehouses emerging in 17th century Britain. As more advanced and reliable methods of preservation were developed, and access to food was improved, smoking fish has become a process focused on imparting flavour and creating the right texture for use in dishes.
The process of fish smoking is broadly speaking, about ensuring the fish itself comes into direct contact with smoke from organic materials, usually wood chips, relying on indirect heat and longer cooking times to create something with a unique flavour and texture.
There are two different methods of smoking fish, cold and hot smoked, each of which involves different techniques and creates different results.
Hot or Cold Smoked? What is the Difference?
When you think of smoked fish, you probably imagine high heat and blistering smoke over a fire — but in reality a lot of smoked fish is actually what is known as “cold smoked”. Cold smoking works by smoking the fish in temperatures below 80°F, which means that the smoke doesn’t actually cook the fish, thus preserving the texture.
Because of the lack of heat applied, cold-smoked fish will often be dry-cured rather than brined, in order to draw out more of the moisture. This process also helps to make the fish more compact, allowing more of the smoke to permeate the fish and impart extra flavour.
Key to this process is the pellicle, a layer of skin or protein on the surface of the fish that serves two purposes: helping the smoke molecules to adhere to the surface and helping protect the fish from bacteria.
The most common types of cold-smoked fish available are:
Hot smoked fish is more in line with what we imagine when we think of smoking and is typically used for fattier fishes such as salmon and trout. To hot smoke the fish will be brined rather than cured, and then smoked at temperatures above 120°F.
This process not only imparts a more pronounced smokiness but also brings out some of those flavours we associate with the fish in its cooked form. One of the biggest keys when it comes to this process is the choice of which wood to use for the chips in the smoking process, as this will be the source of the flavour. When it comes to hot smoked fish, the most common options will be hardwoods such as hickory, maple, and oak, which impart the classic sweet smoke flavour.
The most common types of hot-smoked fish available are:
Our Very Own Smoked Fish
Here at Oak Bay, we’re proud of our organic and craft-driven approach, with emphasis placed on how we source and treat all of the fish we offer for our customers. This is why our smoked fish products are all made in-house, and offered to our customers with the highest guarantee of quality.
Here are some of our favourite smoked fish options:
This mackerel is gently smoked, in order to retain the natural aromas of the hardwood chips it’s smoked on, and is topped with crushed peppercorns, to provide a fiery kick that compliments the smoky flavours well. Loaded with omega-3 and with a wonderfully flaky texture, this mackerel can be used in a number of different ways, or simply eaten as is for a quick lunch!
The signature smoked dish of the Pacific Northwest, this hot smoked sockeye salmon is the quintessential smoked fish. Through the hot smoking, this salmon comes away deliciously flaky, and ready to eat immediately. We especially recommend flaking it into a fresh salad for a delicious lunch option
Not usually thought of when it comes to smoked fish and seafood, this smoked octopus is a unique and delightful treat. The smoked flavours perfectly complement the complex flavour of the octopus and help create a wonderfully firm texture. We think this would go amazingly as part of a seafood pasta dish, particularly linguine.
This tuna loin is a fantastic example of what smoking can achieve, producing a fish of the highest quality, with a buttery fatty fish that would be perfect for ceviche or as a part of a decadent salad.
Smoked Trout Linguine Recipe
This dish highlights the delicate smoked trout by pairing it with a creamy lemony sauce.
- 400gm smoked trout fillets
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 125ml white wine
- ½ cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
- 350gm linguine
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well and add the linguine and cook according to package direction.
Meanwhile, saute the garlic and butter over medium heat until fragrant. Before the garlic turns brown remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and a good amount of fresh cracked pepper. Pour in the creme fraiche and white wine and stir to combine. Put back on the heat and warm through - do not let it boil. Flake half the fish into the sauce and stir gently. Drain the pasta reserving a little bit of liquid. Stir the linguine into the sauce, adding pasta water if necessary. Stir in the rest of the flaked fish and sprinkle with lemon juice. Enjoy!
Eat In - The Kitchen
If you’re anything like us, you’ve really come to appreciate the value of the dining experience in recent times, and we’d like to take this chance to highlight one of our favourite menu options at our restaurant — our very own Oak Bay Seafood fish and chips!
Featuring wonderfully flaky halibut, encased in our crispy house better, and served alongside the traditional comfort classic of chips and a tartare sauce, we round things off with our house red cabbage slaw for a crisp fresh finish. Be sure to try it out next time you visit!
Whether you’re looking to sample some of the best fish and seafood dishes on the west coast, or whip up something special for yourself, you will find the finest quality of ingredients and preparation here. All ready to order for delivery or takeout today!