During a visit to the National Restaurant Association’s NRA Show in Chicago, Lisa Kivirist and I are always on the lookout for the lines at an exhibit booth. We love to cover the latest in culinary trends, whether cooking by induction or making cocktails with ginger beer.
Like a crowded parking lot outside the best local diner in town, lines at the nation’s largest food and beverage show are markers for excellence, taste, value or innovation. When crowds of chefs, restaurateurs, servers and cooks opt to get into a cue to sample a salad at a convention center overflowing with a cornucopia of food and drink options, you get a sense that whatever is being sampled is great.
And it was, at the Honey Smoked Fish Company’s booth. Instead a chef twirling a spatula that you might find at a Japanese hibachi restaurant, Founder Kevin Mason was mixing up a huge bowl of salad, to which he added his Honey Smoked Salmon.
“We do one thing and one thing only, make the world’s finest lightly hot-smoked salmon that’s fully cooked and ready to eat right out of the package,” says Mason, while spinning his bowl, chatting up the benefits of high omega-3 fatty acids, and smiling a lot.
Each salad is packed full of nutrition and the bold Atlantic salmon flavor. It is melt in your mouth tasty. We had a choice of 5 preparations of Honey Smoked Salmon: Original, Cracked Peppers, Cajun, Chipotle Lime and Lemon Pepper. Honey Smoked Salmon is widely distributed throughout the US, but can be shipped out as well. All fish is shipped fresh, never frozen, directly from the smokehouse. Honey Smoked Salmon is hot smoked, different than cold smoked salmon, also known as lox.
“Salmon is considered a superfood because it has one of the highest concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids, more than other fish, meat, or poultry sources,” explains Skyler Mason, who shares ownership of the company with his family and serves as the executive sales director. “Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to the reduction of cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. There are no carbohydrates in the product, even though we use honey in our process, as the carbohydrates and fat calories are burned off during the cooking process.”
“The main difference between cold smoked and hot smoked is the temperature that the fish is smoked at,” explains Skyler Mason. “Cold smoked is smoked at a lot lower temperature which comes out as an end product as a more raw lox texture. Hot smoked is cooked at a much higher temperature that kills off bacteria and turns out as a more fully cooked texture. It is all personal preference on whether you like cold smoked or hot smoked better. Typically, hot smoking salmon dries out the rich omega’s the salmon already consist of. But we have created a secret recipe in our firing system which locks in the omega’s consisting three times the amount.”
“We buy salmon from multiple farms in British Columbia who operate under some of the strictest standards in good aquacultural practices and food safety,” notes Skyler Mason. “All our source farms have the multiple certifications for food safety and marine stewardship.” Their farms are members of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association and collectively received the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices certification. One sustainability measure is that the weight of edible fish exceeds the weight of the feeder fish. In other words, these aquaculture farms are net producers of fish in the same way my wife and I are net producers of electricity on our homestead with a PV and wind turbine system.
What’s perfect about his salad, for homesteaders, is that you can easily adapt it to incorporate nearly everything you make or grow yourself on the farm, from the cheese to the sun-dried cranberries and salad dressing. Flakes or small chunks of the Honey Smoked Salmon are the perfect topping to the salad itself. Soon, you’ll be experimenting with pizzas, tacos or simply on top of your homemade bagels.
By Kevin Mason, Honey Smoked Fish Company
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients for Salad:
• 8 oz. honey smoked salmon
• 2 oz. colby-jack cheese, grated
• 12 oz. romaine and iceberg lettuce mix
• 4 oz. baby spinach
• 2 oz. toasted almonds, slivered or sliced
• ½ cup diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded
• ½ cup blueberries
• ½ cup mandarin oranges, in pieces
• ½ cup sun-dried cranberries
• 2/3 cup ranch dressing, perhaps from our Farmstead Chef cookbook
• 1/3 cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing
John D. Ivanko, with his wife Lisa Kivirist, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by the wind and sun. Both are regular speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer and photographer, Ivanko contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, “9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living”. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, millions of ladybugs and a 10 kW Bergey wind turbine. Read all of John's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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