Salmon with Apples, Cherries, & Hazelnuts

65 Comments

I have saved this recipe for years since I first came across it on Epicurious. It’s a Bobby Flay recipe from his cookbook, Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction, which I do not own. The actual name of the recipe is Hot-Smoked Salmon with Apples, Dried Cherries, Hazelnuts, and Greens.

What I like about Epicurious is that the online publication has reviews and up to four “fork” ratings for their recipes. I like to read the reviews to get an idea of what the general cooking public liked or disliked about a recipe.

Sometimes reviewers don’t like the number of ingredients, or a more complicated recipe, which lowers the overall percentage of a recipe’s rating. In this case, it received 3 out of 4 forks, and only 71% would make it again.

I chose to ignore the ratings in the case of this recipe, because it seemed like few understood hot smoking. There’s nothing wrong with baking or sautéing the salmon, but the important part of this recipe is the hot-smoked salmon paired with the vinegary salad. Hot-smoked salmon is so smoky and rich that it almost requires a vinaigrette.


My Cameron hot-smoker is a handy part of my culinary appliance repertoire. It’s especially handy during months when you don’t want to be outside messing with a smoker. It actually uses real woods that are pulverized so that smoking is done quickly, which is important for thin salmon filets.



This salmon is special to me because it was caught by my husband on a recent fishing expedition in a remote part of Alaska. It wasn’t catch-and-release, so the fish was brought home on planes.

If you want the original recipe, please click on the link in the top paragraph. I’m not going to use Bobby Flay’s method for hot smoking the salmon, although I will use his rub and curing step. Make sure to remove the pin bones before proceeding with the recipe.

Hot-Smoked Salmon with Apples, Dried Cherries, Hazelnuts, and Greens

For the Salmon:
1/2 cup kosher salt (I used 1/4 cup because of the reviews)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns
1 – 3 to 3.5 pound piece center-cut salmon fillet, skin on, pin bones removed

Mix together the salt, sugar, brown sugar, and peppercorns in a medium bowl. Line a piece of extra-wide aluminum foil that’s a little longer than the length of the fish with an equally long layer of plastic wrap.

Sprinkle half of the rub on the wrap. Lay the salmon on the rub. Sprinkle the remaining rub on top of the salmon. Put the wrapped fish on a rimmed baking sheet and top with another baking sheet. Weigh down with a brick or two and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Unwrap the salmon and rinse off the cure mixture with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Bring the salmon to room temperature about two hours before you plan on serving it.

To use the stove-top smoker, set it over medium-high heat to get the smoke going, and then turn the heat down to low for 15 minutes. I prefer salmon cooked medium-rare.

The smoke can really get going when you use this gadget, so cover it up with wet dish towels. And, sometimes they catch on fire, so be prepared.

For the Salad:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
4 ounces organic baby greens
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 small white onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and honey in a large bowl and seasonwith salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified.

Add the greens, apple, onion, cherries and hazelnuts to combine. Season with salt and pepper.


Place the salmon on a platter and arrange the salad on top.


Are you ready for this? This recipe is going on my Last Meal list! It’s that good!

The salmon is fabulous with the vinaigrette and the apples and cherries. The onions and hazelnuts are like icing on cake.


I didn’t taste much mustard from the vinaigrette, which is fine, but I added a few mustard seeds on top for fun.


I’ve never pressed raw salmon with weights, but it certainly didn’t ruin anything. The flesh was condensed, as you’d expect, but still moist and tender.

I’d barely finished photographing this dish before I began devouring it. I added more vinaigrette because the fish can take it, and by the end it was more like a salad with salmon on my plate. Nice and messy. And delicious.

65 thoughts on “Salmon with Apples, Cherries, & Hazelnuts

  1. We are big on warm and cold smoked salmon over this way so your recipe for the salad fits perfectly. I’ve warm and cold smoked lots of salmon, but never in a oven smoker. I like the small batch concept. Great salmon cure recipe, simple and not to complex.
    Alaskan fishing, what a treat. I’ve fond memories (except for the black flies and mosquitoes) of fishing in Alaska. A very enjoyable post Mimi.

    • Thank you Ron. My husband was very lucky. Great weather, no flies or mosquitoes. And lots of fish! What I’ve never done with salmon is the cure and the pressing. An interesting technique!

  2. Mimi, I love this because of the depth of the story. The direct connection with nature is really important and I love to see what you have done with the salmon. I really delight in hot smoked salmon and have the luxury of cold smoking my own here.

    This post is particularly special as it brings back memories of my Dad, 29 years gone, smoking fresh caught mackerel by the sea shore here in Ireland. Lovely stuff!

    • Thank you for the lovely comment. I wish I could cold smoke salmon, but at least I can get good quality online. I prefer grilled to hot-smoked typically. The smoke just tends to make it so rich it’s almost too good to eat?!! But the salad worked so perfectly with the fish. A chef’s recipe, but even more spectacular than I expected it to be.

  3. Gosh, how wonderful that your husband caught and brought you back that wild salmon Mimi. I bet it tasted memorable. Your picture of you pin boning the salmon took me right back to my days in The Woodlands hotel where as a kitchen porter I often watched the chefs doing that with fresh catches that were brought in by guests who had been away fishing for the day. I bet that salad with apples, cherries and hazelnuts compliments this salmon so beautifully. Lovely recipe!

    • Thank you. The salmon is exceptional cooked this way (I can eat salmon cooked any which way as long as it’s properly done) but with the salad it was just outstanding! Love your memory.

  4. Mimi, I love all sorts of smoked salmon and the flavors here sound divine. I have the same smoker (a wedding gift!). I haven’t pulled it out for a long time, so this will be fun. :-) ~Valentina

  5. Just the other day I packed up my portable smoker and shoved it on the top shelf in the garage – now I’ll have to get it down again. It is great fun smoking foods and wondering how they will turn out. Thanks Mimi for getting me thinking again. Your Salmon is on the menu later this week. Sounds lovely with the fruity salad.

    • Hahahaha! Sorry! I actually need to use mine more often, and I have easy access to it. But wow, if you only ever make this recipe with your smoker, you’ll be happy!

    • Oh, you’re getting a real smoker outside? Very cool. We have an electric one that is amazing. Seem to use it on turkeys mostly. The inside version is good for smaller things, obviously. Although I need to use it more often and get more creative with it.

    • Oh, not really. You mean curing the salmon? You know how it is, ya just gotta plan ahead. I’ve never cured nor pressed salmon like that. Well, I’ve made gravlax, but this was different. It’s a great smoker. And not expensive at all.

    • It was about as fresh as I’ve ever had, except for being on the coast of Scotland. But yes, with the salad it was spectacular!

  6. I love these Pacific Northwest flavors! I still haven’t bought the smoker yet… But I will soon. I keep telling Mark that I need it for my next birthday, Christmas, or “just because” gift. I should just buy it for myself!

    • My husband claims he’s quit buying me gifts because I always end up getting them myself, which is true now. But I waited for three long years before finally getting a sous vide for Christmas!

  7. Woah! I love the photos from your husband’s recent fishing trip. How cool is that!? And what a great way to use that salmon, too. This recipe sounds delicious for sure! Also, Bobby Flay looks so young in that book cover!!

    • Oh right, it is an older book, isn’t it?! Well we all get older… He’s been at it quite a while. When I see a recipe I like, I know send it to my printer, but back when, I emailed it to myself, so that’s how long I’ve saved this recipe. But I’m so glad i did.

  8. This salmon is gorgeous and sounds outrageously good! I don’t have a smoker, but yours seems pretty simple to use. Thanks for the recipe – saving it for sure!

  9. Great looking recipe! I’ve used a similar stovetop smoker in the past, and liked it. Don’t have one at the moment, and I’m really tempted to get another one so I can make this. This looks SO good! :-)

  10. This is wonderful and so different for me. We don’t have the same fish and fishing culture in my part of Australia. We catch different fish and usually eat them fresh. I’ve been interested in getting a smoker but I don’t know anyone who has one. This is a great post to tempt me! Thanks for sharing!

    • I didn’t realize you are in Australia. When we visited in 2017 I had my fill of lovely seafood. You’re so lucky. I guess depending where you live, of course!

    • Ha! I know what you mean. Which is why my basement is full of shelves of cooking equipment. But I really do love this smoker, and have used it lots over the years.

  11. How lucky to be able to use fresh Alaskan salmon sourced by your husband! The salad looks especially good- I’ll be making this for sure. Right now, I’m staying in the Upper West Side in NYC where there is plenty of smoked salmon for sale, but probably not as good as yours!

    • Well there’s always lots of lox around NYC, which is one of my favorite things to eat with bagels and cream cheese. This was hot-smoked salmon, which is different. You could always just grill salmon. Wish I could visit you. Have lots of fun!

    • Oh good! You’ll love it, and use it often. Not expensive, either. Get a sampling of the woods – they last forever, because this is short-term smoking, so only a few teaspoons of the wood go into the smoker.

    • Well it’s really a spectacular recipe, so I’d be really surprised if he didn’t like it! I love salmon because you can do so much to it, as opposed to a delicate white fish, which just needs to shine.

  12. Whoa! your husband’s a total badass! LOL! This dish looks phenomenal. I love the presentation, and can’t wait to fire up my smoker for it!
    I don’t have this book. We just spent the weekend on a romantic beercation at an Airbnb called The Book Nook. I ended up ordering 3 used books that I couldn’t put down there, so I’ll try my best to behave here.

      • You like layers of flavor and grilled and smoked food, and southwestern, so I would have guessed yes! I love brunch, but am super lazy on weekend mornings, so I’d like brunch to appear magically. I bought his brunch book and that’s apparently not enough. LOL! I cook from the rest of his books. I’m afraid with the brunch book, I never got past really good intentions.

    • You’re not a gadget person? I just assume every home cook is. Although some are ridiculous. I got an electric jam maker from my sister in law once. Ridiculous!

  13. I want to get one of those hot smokers! Love the idea of being able to smoke indoors. I take it it doesn’t set off the smoke alarm in your kitchen?

    Although I never read recipe reviews. The general public is a fickle beast. So many negative reactions are idiosyncratic (eg, the person doesn’t happen to like one of the ingredients) or based on their own lack of cooking skills. I don’t find they’re a good predicator of whether I’m going to enjoy the dish. They can be entertaining, though…

    (And PS, I like your choice of canned tomatoes.)

    • No, it doesn’t get that smoky – just enough to make your house smell really good! And regarding reviews, you’re so right. What I love is a bad review of a product on Amazon, and it’s because the box arrived smashed!

  14. I love hot smoking salmon, and in fact just did it yesterday on the boat. I usually don’t go through the trouble of a long cure. Don’t think I’ve ever tasted salmon with cherries and hazelnuts before.

  15. great recipe. i really love to make this kind of recipe because kids these days they dont like to have heavy stuff all the time glad i can make something delicious for them thanks to you :)

    • I see what you mean. It hopefully isn’t all about burgers or meat and potatoes all the time for sure. This was light but definitely approachable!

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