Wellbeing 04/10/2018

Hot smoked salmon recipe – Food from the Fire

The juniper hot smoked salmon is nearly ready! See how it's crisped at the bottom of the salmon fillet and still wobbly on top? Perfect! In this recipe from Food from the Fire, you don't wait for charcoal but cook on the naked flame with juniper bushes for an extra special smoky flavour.

Hot smoked salmon connects my senses to the wild nature and outdoor life that I love. And it’s so easy to make! Throw juniper bushes onto lit seasoned birch logs, add a side of salmon, and watch it smoke.

For the past year, I’ve taken Niklas Eksted’s recipe book Food From the Fire with me on all my travels. It’s my guidebook in using nature as a natural seasoning and method. Spending time in wilderness, camping, fishing and cooking on an open fire feed my body and soul. If you’ve not heard of this master chef, Niklas’ restaurant Ekstedt in Stockholm cooks without electricity, instead relying on a fire pit, a wood fired oven and a wood stove. The Michelin starred restaurant has been voted one of the world’s best restaurants.

Seasoned birch from the summer house wood store. This is one of our old trees, that was cut down about 3 years ago.

How to make this hot smoked salmon recipe

Campfire cooking has so many possibilities. But you don’t need to be camping to enjoy it! We cooked this recipe at our family summer house outside Kalmar in south eastern Sweden. The hot weather fire ban that had just lifted combined with a windy day meant we had to cook at the house instead of the beach. So we built a fire in the garden for our hot smoked salmon. Our house is by an archipelago with forest all around, so there’s plenty of juniper to pick. I also collected some hay at the stables down the road for my hay salt (see other recipe further down).

Juniper bushes and berries, ready to throw on the naked flames and cook hot smoked salmon. See the full feature on chalkandmoss.com.

Rather than cooking on charcoal, you light your fire and immediately throw on the juniper bushes and place the salmon on top. You may want to place the fish inside a mesh fish clamp so you remove it easily. It was a joy to cook on our own garden’s silver birch that had seasoned in the wood store for three years. The juniper will catch fire and turn to ask very quickly, and the fish only takes about 15 minutes to cook. That’s all there is to it! We served it with creme fraiche and freshly grated horseradish, new potatoes, tomatoes from the local farm shop and corn on the cob that we’d picked earlier that day.

Juniper hot smoked salmon, cooked over a raw fire. Following the recipe of Niklas Ekstedt's Food from The Fire. Our campfire cooking session in southern Sweden. Hot smoked salmon with juniper. Looking for salmon recipes? I highly recommend this one. The salmon is hot smoked directly onto flames and juniper bushes. The ash creates a beautiful smoky flavour. I followed the recipe from Niklas Ekstedt in Food from the Fire. Hot smoked salmon with juniper. Looking for salmon recipes? I highly recommend this one. The salmon is hot smoked directly onto flames and juniper bushes. The ash creates a beautiful smoky flavour. I followed the recipe from Niklas Ekstedt in Food from the Fire.

My happy co-chef. We're in our element when outside, cooking over a fire.

My husband in his happy place, co-cooking on an open fire in beautiful surroundings.

Hot smoked salmon recipe, with flavours of fresh juniper bushes. Beautiful with fresh tomatoes from the farm shop and a crisp glass of white wine. Full instructions on the blog at www.chalkandmoss.com.

The finished juniper hot smoked salmon dish, served with fresh tomatoes from the farm shop, a green salad and crisp white wine. 

Hay salt – nature’s seasoning

Whilst not using it for the hot smoked salmon recipe, I couldn’t resist also making some hay salt too. This is also from Niklas’ book.

Picking straw to make hay salt later over the open fire. Let the hay char in a pan over the fire, then mix with sea salt and grind in a pestel and mortar. This makes a lovely smoky seasoning and rub for meats.

I find hay bales mesmerising! These are near our family summer house outside Kalmar in southern Sweden.

I find hay bales mesmerising! These are near our family summer house outside Kalmar in southern Sweden.

I must admit I’m a little unsure of the difference between hay and straw, and if you can use any straw in the countryside. So anyone in the know, please do post a helpful comment here! Anyway, we survived, so I guess whatever grows near us and is available in the stables is OK! Niklas Ekstedt’s advice is to buy organic, untreated hay from a good pet shop.

Put the hay in a pan directly on the fire. It will make the outside of the pot black, so perhaps don’t use grandma’s best! It will soon catch fire and turn to black dust. When it’s no longer burning, remove from the fire, add good quality sea salt and crush with a pestle and mortar. This beautiful nature’s seasoning can be used directly on your plate, or used to season food for cooking.

Char the hay / straw in a pan over the open fire (the pan will go black on the outside, so don't use grandma's best). It will catch fire and turn to char dust. Then mix with sea salt and grind, and use as seasoning. The hay will catch fire and char in the pan. Then remove from the heat, add sea salt and pound to a powder. Use as seasoning directly onto the plate or whilst cooking. For hay salt - Add sea salt to the charred hay and grind with a pestle and mortar. See the Chalk & Moss blog for details. Recipe: Food from the Fire by Sweden's Niklas Ekstedt. Grind the charred hay and sea salt in a pestle and mortar. This makes a lovely smoky seasoning and rub for meats.

 

Campfire cooked corn on the cob

Happy with her haul! Now off to start the campfire to cook these sweetcorn. A boy in his happy field! Picking corn on the cob to cook later over an open camp fire. Bliss! Check out the blog at www.chalkandmoss.com for hot spoked salmon we cooked over fresh juniper bushes. A bunch of beauties! Pick your own corn is one of the big delights of summer. Cook them on an open campfire, serve with butter and salt, and.... bliss!We went to a pick your own sweetcorn farm, which the kids understandably loved! These were also cooked on our beautiful fire, right in their own jackets. It takes about 15 minutes to cook them. They’ll become slightly charred, but not burnt as their own sleeves protect them. Serve with butter and sea salt. Bliss!

The jackets of the corn protect them from the flames, but let the delicious smoky flavour seep through. They take about 15 minutes to cook.

Corn on the cob is one of my favourite late summer treats. Nothing can beat these beauties cooked over an open fire, served with melting butter and a sprinkling of salt. Is there anything that says late summer more than fresh corn on the cob? And better yet, pick your own and cook them over an open fire, then served with melting butter and a sprinkling of salt.

Other campfire recipes in Food from the Fire

Ember cooked gravlax by Niklas Ekstedt in his wild recipe book Food from the Fire.

Ember cooked gravlax by Niklas Ekstedt in his wild recipe book Food from the Fire.

Crayfish party / kräftskiva - image from Food from the Fire by Niklas Ekstedt/

Crayfish party / kräftskiva

Hay flamed cod with brown butter, pink pepper picked cucumber and miso roasted potatoes. I've not tried this recipe yet, but now I have my hay salt, it's next in line! I love cooking on camp fires winter as well as summer.

Hay flamed cod with brown butter, pink pepper picked cucumber and miso roasted potatoes. I’ve not tried this recipe yet, but now I have my hay salt, it’s next in line! I think this will be a beautiful flavour for winter fire cooking too.

Batter recipes from Food from the Fire, by Niklas Ekstedt.

Fire recipes with batter.

This hot chocolate with dried orange sounds perfect for chilly campfire sessions or snug sofa evenings in front of the fire at home. Recipe by Niklas Ekstedt in Food from the Fire.

This hot chocolate with dried orange sounds perfect for chilly campfire sessions or snug sofa evenings in front of the fire at home.

A deep need to connect with nature

It was only in my teens that I realised how important nature is to me. When I was 5, my family moved from Sweden to central London, where I spent far too much time watching TV and eating biscuits. When I was 18, I spent my first full winter skiing and snowboarding in the Alps, where I realised how important being outdoors in nature was for my wellbeing. I’m now 42 and the need to be in the wild hasn’t changed. Since that season in 1993, I’ve travelled the globe with outdoor living and spending time in wilderness, woodland and snow firmly on the agenda. This belief in the power of the outside world was my motivation for starting the Chalk & Moss blog and nature connected design shop.

 

Where to buy Food from the Fire

If you’re looking for a hot smoked salmon recipe, or other campfire cooking recipes, I so recommend Food from the Fire. Published by Pavillion Books, you can buy it here on Amazon: 

 

Happy Food –

On the subject of Niklas Ekstedt, I also love his new book, Happy Food - how eating well can lift your mood and bring you joy. It’s a brilliant source of knowledge and inspiration to help our son, who’s been suffering long term stomach pain and nausea following antibiotic treatment for pneumonia. Do yourself a favour and buy this book too, you won’t regret it!

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