This is the season when many of us are thinking about holiday gifts. I have many favorite items and gadgets that I use in cooking classes but the thing that intrigues many is the stove-top smoker.
When I saw Emeril Lagasse use the stove-top smoker several years ago, it certainly piqued my interest. I have had one for several years and use it regularly at home as well as for cooking classes. The food from it always impresses people, and it has turned out to be one of my favorite kitchen items.
No doubt some of you are thinking of giving a smoker as a gift, because I have received several questions about it.
Q. How does the stove-top smoker work?
A. There is nothing complicated about using the stove-top smoker. Scatter some wood chips in a roasting pan and put the meat, fish or poultry on a rack to sit above it. Place the lid on the pan and place over medium heat. Watch for the chips to start smoking, then cover tightly and smoke to desired doneness. Voila! You have wonderful smoky flavor that comes from a very simple technique. I’ve use the stove-top smoker for fish, chicken, ribs and brisket — all with excellent results.
Q. Is the food actually smoked and flavorful?
A. Yes, you get a great depth of flavor. Many flavors of wood chips are available — hickory, alder wood, mesquite, oak, apple and others. Usually, I use alder wood for fish and stronger flavors such as mesquite, hickory or oak for beef or pork. Because the stove-top smoker is small, the meat is encased in a small area and infuses with smoke very quickly.
Q. Does the stove-top smoker create smoke in the house when it is in use?
A. No, there will be no smoke in the house. The lid fits on very tightly. All you will notice is a delicious aroma of food cooking.
Q. Is it possible to use the stove-top smoker on the grill while grilling other foods?
Yes. You can grill other foods and smoke something at the same time. It works equally well on the outdoor grill as it does on the kitchen range.
I published this recipe in a prior column but will include it here again with a wonderful way to use the smoked salmon on an appetizer that will be useful for holiday entertaining.