Hot Smoked Salmon with Grilled Potato and Ricotta Cheese

By Marcus Samuelsson |

This recipe is a multicultural mashup on a plate: Swedish fish, Ethiopian spice, Southern greens, and European technique all meet to make a seriously delicious dish. These are flavors that I both grew up with and grew into, from the salmon that I caught in Smögen with my father to the collards that are a nod to my home now in Harlem, where soul food and Southern cooking are one of the best ways to bring people in the community together. The different flavors layer together to create something new and exciting, but always comforting. There are a lot of parts to this recipe, but I promise it’s worth it.


For Salmon

1 cup Applewood chips

four 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed

1/2 teaspoon berbere

kosher salt , to taste

For Pickling

3 cups cold water

1 cup vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 carrot, diced

1 red onion, chopped

1/2 leek , white part only

1 whole bay leaf

4 black peppercorns

4 white peppercorns

For Coating

2 bunches dill, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup berbere

1/2 cup honey mustard

For Pikliz

2 cups shredded white cabbage (about 1/4 of a medium head)

2 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/8 of a medium head)

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

one 1-inch ginger knob, finely grated

1 habanero pepper, seeded and julienned

1 Scotch bonnet, seeded and julienned

2 cups white distilled vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

For Collards

1 bunch collard greens (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup dill, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons berbere

kosher salt , to taste

freshly ground black pepper , to taste

For Assembly

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on

Ricotta cheese


(Photo by torbakhopper)

1. Seven days in advance, prepare the pikliz: Shred both the white and red cabbage. Peel and shred the carrots. Grate the ginger. Seed and julienne the habanero and Scotch bonnet peppers. Toss all the ingredients together in a large jar with an airtight seal.

2. Refrigerate for one week before serving.

3. One day in advance, smoke the salmon: Put the wood chips in the bottom of a stovetop smoker. Lightly moisten the chips with a few teaspoons of water and cover with a rack.

4. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with the berbere and salt, and place on the rack. Cover the smoker and place over low heat.

5. Cook for 7-10 minutes after you see the first wisps of smoke; the fillets should begin to turn opaque but still rare in the center.

6. Pickle the salmon: Combine all brine ingredients in a 1 1/2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved.

7. Let the mixture cool, then cover and reserve.

8. Arrange smoked salmon in a shallow pan and cover completely with pickling brine. Refrigerate overnight.

9. The next day, remove the salmon from brine and thinly slice.

10. Heat a saute pan until very hot. Quickly dry sear the collards in dill, berbere, salt, and pepper.

11. Clean the potatoes thoroughly, then slice into 1/4-inch wide rounds. In a saucepan, add water and the potato slices, and bring to a light boil. Remove the potato slices while they are still firm but can be pierced with a fork.

12. Drain the potato slices well, then grill until golden brown.

13. To assemble: Cut down the salmon filets to the size of the potato slices. Combine dill and berbere in a bowl. Spread the salmon with honey mustard, and roll in the dill and berbere mixture.

14. On each grilled potato slice, spread a layer of ricotta cheese, then seared collards, then top with a slice of the salmon, and garnish with a small portion of the pikliz.