For those who have followed my blog for a while, you know that I like salmon. I mean, I really like salmon! I guess that comes from growing up on the west coast of Canada and having access to both great salmon, and so many great ways to prepare it. Salmon candy is one of those delightful ways, and one I discovered at an early age in the seafood markets of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Although not really candy (in the modern sense), salmon candy, along with jerky, was one of the traditional ways the indigenous people along the B.C. coast prepared and preserved their salmon catch, and it caught on with the trappers who explored much of Canada.
Preparing salmon candy is very simple and starts with cutting salmon into one-inch wide strips (or using salmon scraps), then curing the salmon in a mixture of salt and sugar. After it’s quick cured, the salmon is then coated with maple syrup and smoked over wood coals – or in my case, the oven – for a few hours at low temperature. That’s it! What’s left is a protein-rich snack that has a delicious sweet, umami flavor.
Salmon Candy (British Columbia Style)
- 1 pound salmon, skinned and cut into 1-inch wide strips
- 3/4 cup raw sugar (can substitute white granulated)
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (Canadian, of course!)
- 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
- Combine the sugar and salt in a small bowl.
- In a glass casserole dish, spread a layer of the sugar/salt mixture about 1/4-inch deep then lay the salmon side-by-side on the mixture, cover with the remaining sugar/salt mix and ensure that all pieces are well coated. Refrigerate for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°F. Remove the salmon from the fridge and quickly rinse to remove the sugar/salt mixture. Pat salmon strips dry with a paper towel and set on a wire rack spaced apart.
- Whisk together the maple syrup and liquid smoke if using. Baste the salmon strips with the glaze and place in the oven. Cook for 3-4 hours (depending on thickness), turning and basting the salmon strips every hour. The finished salmon candy will have a nice tacky glaze that feels somewhat hardened, and the inside flesh should have the texture that falls between hot smoked salmon and jerky.