Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.
Today: The kind of smoking Emily can get behind.
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There’s only one type of smoking I can get behind, and that is the smoking of meats (oh, well, and cheeses. And actually there are some smoked vegetables and beverages out there that are delicious...). I’m a fan of smoked fish in particular. I understand how smoking works in concept, but I don’t know how to do it myself -- and therefore I choose to picture it as an esoteric mystical practice, kind of like a druidic rite, in which slippery pieces of fresh fish are enveloped in wafting clouds of smoke, amidst some hand waving and muttered incantation, and then they come out rich and flaky and salty and as delicious as candy (if candy were rich and flaky and salty, which, perhaps, more of it ought to be).
There’s a guy in our town who owns a shop that sells smoked meat and fish -- I’ll call him ‘Eric the smoker’ -- and he makes the most unbelievable smoked salmon and whitefish. It’s pretty hard to believe anything that good could be legal. At the shop they also sell posters with heavy woodblock prints and funny slogans. My favorite is “Fish: The healthy smoke.” (My other favorite is “Cheese: The adult form of milk.” I own both.)
I would eat his smoked fish any time of day, and as a matter of fact, I do. But my favorite is smoked fish for breakfast; I like to start the day off with a perfect balance of salt, sweet, and smoke. I like it on bagels; I like it on toast; I like it on crackers; I like it with eggs (and if any of that rhymed, I could be Dr. Seuss); but I think my favorite is to combine smoked fish with crispy, salty skillet-fried potatoes. To add a little smoke to the smoke, I like to pair my skillet of fish and potatoes with dollops of garlicky smoked paprika aioli. Oh, smoked spices! I can get behind those too.
4 medium red potatoes, cut into small dice (I actually like to use a mix of colors, but just red works great) 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium shallot, finely chopped Salt and pepper 6 ounces smoked whitefish (or trout, or even salmon), flaked into large chunks 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 small garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.