- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup sea salt
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon tequila
- ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves and tender stems
- 1 jalapeño chilli, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon ancho chilli powder
- 1 skin-on centre-cut salmon fillet, 900 g to 1 kg and 3 to 4 cm thick
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch radishes (12 to 16), trimmed and cut into very fine matchsticks (about 1 3/4 cups)
- ½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3 mm dice (about 1/2 cup)
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
- ½ to 1 jalapeño chilli, seeded and finely chopped (2 to 3 teaspoons)
- 5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Tortilla chips
This multistage process is worthwhile for turning out salmon with a silky tender texture. Tequila and smoke give the fish fabulous flavours that work great with the slightly spicy, slightly bitter radish salsa in this stand-out appetiser. The smoked fish also makes a terrific main dish on its own.
- In a medium bowl mix together the brown sugar, salt, ¼ cup tequila, coriander, jalapeño, lime zest, lemon zest and chilli powder. Place the salmon, skin side down, in a glass or ceramic baking dish just large enough to hold it.
- Remove any pin bones using a small piece of paper towel to help you grasp one end of the bone while you pull it out. Spread the sugar mixture over the salmon, covering it entirely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 7 to 8 hours.
- Rinse the salmon well under cold running water to remove the sugar mixture. Pat it dry with paper towels, then place, flesh side up, on a baking tray. Brush the flesh with the oil and 1 tablespoon tequila. Refrigerate uncovered until the salmon looks lightly glazed, about 45 minutes.
- Prepare the barbecue for indirect cooking over very low heat (93° to 130°C). Brush the cooking grills clean. Drain half of the wood chips, scatter over the coals or add to the smoker box of a gas barbecue, and close the lid.
- When smoke appears, roast the salmon over indirect very low heat, with the lid closed, until it is firm to the touch and has a golden patina, 55 minutes to 1¼ hours. After about 30 minutes of cooking, add the remaining wood chips. Remove the salmon from the barbecue and let cool for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine all the salsa ingredients and mix well. Slice or flake the cooled salmon into bite-size pieces and serve on tortilla chips topped with the salsa.