There used to be a great restaurant here in Charleston called the Blossom Dairy. It was an institution. It had been open for decades. Walking in was like walking back in time. It used to be an old school soda fountain shop, and still had the counter that ran most of the length of the place down one side. And the walls were all chrome or something like the 1950s. It’s a shame it’s closed. It’s one of those places that I always ordered the same thing every time I went because it was so freakin’ good. I always ordered the smoked fish salad. I don’t know what kind of fish it was, but it came in a big generous scoop, all creamy and salty and smoky on a bed of salad greens with some red onion and grape tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette on the side. I haven’t had smoked fish salad quite like that since it closed.
We had a package of pike and a package of walleye that the Hubs caught in Canada last summer that really needed used. Just in case they were a bit freezer burnt, I decided to smoke them in my father-in-law’s smoker and make smoked fish salad with it. Just like I used to get at the Blossom Dairy.
Actually, a couple years ago, we went in with my sister-in-law and her family to get my father-in-law a smoker. Best present we ever bought him, hands down. We’ve been reaping the benefits ever since; smoked turkey breast, smoked chicken, smoked pork butt. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at smoked fish (and actually smoked cheese…) since we gave it to him. It’s pretty easy. According to the booklet that came with it, fish should be smoked about two hours. You basically soak some wood chips, add them and some water, and turn the sucker on. My mother-in-law had it all ready for me when I got there.
The pike is bigger than the walleye, and the walleye was a bit overcooked after two hours, but the pike was perfect. The fish flaked apart easily, which was good since pike is full of annoying “y” shaped bones. When I first tried it, I was kinda disappointed because the smoke flavor wasn’t that strong. But, after I mixed it up, it was pretty tasty. After I left the salad sit a day… wow. Amazing. Worth the wait.
Smoked Fish Salad (makes about 6 cups)
- 2 1/2 pounds smoked white fish
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup finely minced onion
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- salt and pepper to taste
Take the skin off the fish and remove the bones, if not already. Mash the fish up with the mayo, sour cream, onion and garlic salt. Mix well until completely incorporated. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Enjoy.
While, it’s not as good as the Blossom Dairy’s was, it’s not bad. Especially after it’s leftover. I wish I had their recipe, but it could be lost forever. In the meantime, this will have to do. And it’s pretty darn good.