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Smokehaus Recipe: Roasted Fennel Salad

The rumors are correct: the Smokehaus can make salad. Occasionally, the Smokehaus makes a tremendously delicious salad, even, and this is one of them. 

It pops up from time to time on our catering menu and we shift the recipe to include fried copa or not, depending on the vegetarian population at any given event. Also, this salad does well with many types of dressing – I’m giving you a recipe for the standard roasted red pepper sauce, but feel free to use the vinaigrette of your choice.

Roasted Fennel Salad with Coppa

Smokehaus Roasted Fennel Salad

For the Dressing:

2 Cups Roasted Red Peppers (do it at home – always a good time – or buy them by the can)

Squirt of Lemon 

Olive Oil 

Salt and Pepper to taste


4-5 Fennel Bulbs

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


Mixed Greens

1 Cup Cashews or Marcona Almonds

1 Cup Sweetie Drops


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Make the dressing by pureeing the red peppers in a food processor or blender with the squirt of lemon while slowly incorporating enough olive oil to create a runny dressing. When smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.

Wash and quarter the fennel, discarding (or saving for later) the feathery tops. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, put in an even layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. Tousle, and continue cooking (and tousling, if need be) for another 30 minutes or until evenly brown. Remove and let cool slightly. 




Combine all ingredients (we prefer greens, then fennel, then nuts, then sweetie drops, then a drizzle of dressing). Top with fried, crispy Copa if desired.

Makes 4 big servings or 6 smaller ones.





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Mortadella Madness

It’s been many years in the making, but we finally nailed a Mortadella recipe! Originating in Italy, Mortadella is basically fancy bologna – which made us think, “hey, how hard can it be to make a low-rent lunchmeat?” Pretty damn hard, it turns out.

One of our first brushes with Mortadella manufacture resulted in a flavor not unlike a wet, fetid dog and a texture that was mealy. It was perhaps the most inedible product we have ever made at the Smokehaus, before or since. We threw the whole batch away – there was nothing else to do with it. 

Bologna was surprisingly hard-to-get, like some sort of across the tracks romantic tableau where you try to sweep the town drunk’s daughter off her feet only to realize that she isn’t really interested (at least not without some effort). We mistakenly thought Mortadella was a sure thing. We quickly moved on to less complicated garde manger duties, like dry-cured Saucisson Sec and country-style pate. 

A few more attempts here and there resulted in similar failures, leading us to believe that Oscar Meyer (and his millions of dollars worth of machines) had us licked. But this winter has been a winter of discovery – the punishing weather forced us to tinker, to dream, to get a little risky – and we culminated our Mad Professor moods attempting  another round with Mortadella: The One That Got Away. 

We hit the books and got on the phone, lining up the best local pork we could find, along with the most celestial back fat on earth. We ordered synthetic casings – a Smokehaus first – and discussed cooking methods (smoking v. poaching v. roasting v. a combination) in a fairly argumentative way, all of us desperately craving the same two goals: 1) Not to f@#% this up, and 2) To eat copious amounts of Mortadella. We bought exquisite organic pistachios. We diced perfect cubes of lardon. We emulsified. We stuffed. We hung. We waited. 

The outcome of this first heavily anticipated meat torpedo was, if not a disaster, at least a solid rebuke. Although the flavor, color, and shape were exactly as designed, the texture was so powdery, so resistant to the creamy, hammy bliss that is intrinsic to Mortadella, that it actually somehow was able to remove any resonant moisture in your mouth as you ate it. Kind of like a reverse-treat. Like the lunchmeat was punishing us by taking our saliva away after years of drooling about it. Bitch. 

But we tried again.

We adjusted the fat ratio (which is a little stunning, even by our hedonistic standards) along with a few other key technique-oriented factors and voila: Mortadella is finally on our side, pink and perfect. Creamy, dreamy, studded with mild pistachio and aggressive peppercorn – we are definitely going steady. 

mortadella; smokehaus mortadella

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Smokehaus Recipe: Copa Cups

Here’s a simple recipe that only  requires a few skills and access to Copa (sometimes spelled Coppa), a dry-cured specially-trimmed collar butt. We have been making Copa for the last couple years, and find the most tender time of year to remove it from the aging room and promptly eat it is early Spring – or it could be that the necessary wait time for this delicacy makes it seem overwhelmingly delicious whenever we eat it, which in this case happens to be right now, aka early Spring – I’ll get back to you on that.

Copa, coppa, smokehaus charcuterie, charcuterie, Berkshire, dry-cured, proscuitto

The eggs we are lucky enough to get here at the Smokehaus are courtesy of a very dear blacksmith friend (he made Eric’s corkscrew grill and helped construct the monolithic pizza oven) who raises a small flock of very happy chickens who, like us, subsist on a protein-rich diet which includes Smokehaus smoked salmon skins. I heartily recommend seeking out a similar situation, although it’s hard to imagine an equal to these eggs.

Copa cups, coppa cups, recipe for eggs with dry-cured meat, baked eggs with prosciutto, parmesan crisp, basil oil, recipe

Copa Cups

12 thin slices of Copa

6 eggs, preferably high quality

1/4 – 1/2 pound of Parmigiano, aged Gouda, or other hard cheese

Basil oil for garnish 

Preheat your oven at 350 f. 

Line a 6-cup muffin tin with two pieces of Copa in each cup (if you have a 12-cup tin, double the recipe). Bake the Copa for 10-15 minutes, or until Copa has started to crisp (but not overly brown). Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce the oven to 325.

coppa cups, copa, dry-cured pork, recipe, Smokehaus   Copa, Coppa, cooked coppa, recipe

Fine-grate the cheese. Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet just above medium. Once the skillet is hot, drop small (approximately 1 Tablespoon) piles of cheese about 2 inches apart. Let cook (this is scary – but just go with it) until evenly bubbly. Remove the cheese discs with a metal spatula and let rest on a cutting board. Continue until satisfied (you can keep extras in a sealed container for a day or two in the fridge). 

parmesan crisp recipe, shredded parmesan, frying parmesan, frying parmigianno    frying parmesan, parmesan crisp recipe, parmesan tuille 

        Parmesan tuille, parmesan crisp finished, close-up fried parmesan

Crack an egg into each Copa cup and bake in the oven for at least 10 minutes (but probably longer): until the whites are set but the yolks are soft – unless you prefer them otherwise.

eggs baked in muffin tin, eggs with coppa, baked egg recipe  

 eggs in coppa, eggs in muffin tin with coppa, baked eggs

When the eggs are as you like them, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. 

Plate the eggs by popping them out of the muffin tin with a butter knife or other longish, flatfish implement, and place them on a plate. Adorn them with a cheese chip (tuile, frico, crisp – pick your urbane-etude). Give them a little nudge of basil oil (we made our own with fresh basil, salt, fresh lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil). 

Seduce the object of your affection with your culinary cunning, or make a table full of guests wish it was always brunch time – even though it nearly always is.

baked eggs with coppa and parmesan crisps, basil oil, creative brunch, smokehaus recipe, coppa recipe, ham and egg recipe

We ate ours with Miller High Life: The Champagne of Beers.

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Smokehaus Recipe: Smoked Lake Superior Lake Trout Ravioli with Marcona Almond Herb Butter

Ok, don’t let the wordy girth of this one scare you. Ravioli is a little involved, but it really is pretty straightforward – and making them is a pleasant way to pass an afternoon. I like this one as a dinner for two: a dainty main-course that will satisfy you but not stuff you.

We sell Marcona Almonds in our Duluth deli, but I’ve spied them at several grocery stores. They are buttery, salty, and oh-so-bathed in sunflower oil, which gives the sauce a unique texture that clings to the ravioli without overshadowing the more subtle balance of the filling. 

The smoked mushrooms are a winter experiment – they may turn up this spring in terrines, on our catering menu, and even on a sandwich or two. As mentioned below, you can certainly make a fine version of this without them.  

Smoked Lake Superior Smoked Lake Trout Ravioli with Herbed Marcona Almond Butter

Smoked Lake Trout Ravioli

For the Pasta Dough:

3 large, preferably high-quality eggs

2 cups “OO” flour


For the Filling:

1/2 pound Lake Superior Smoked Lake Trout

15 ounces whole milk ricotta

zest of one lemon

1 heaping Tablespoon small-diced smoked mushrooms

salt

pepper

1 large egg, beaten


For the Herbed Almond Butter:

1/2 cup Marcona almonds

1/2 cup (or a little more) extra-virgin olive oil

6-7 leaves of fresh basil

1 Tablespoon of de-sprigged (fresh) rosemary

1 Tablespoon of de-sprigged (fresh) thyme

Squirt of fresh lemon

salt to taste


Garnish:

Fine diced red onion

Fine shredded Parmigiano, aged Gouda, or Pecorino


On a large, dry surface, mound the flour. Create a large well in the center – enough to accommodate the eggs – and crack them into it. 

Making pasta  Pasta dough ball  

With a fork, gently beat the eggs, slowly incorporating the flour as you go. Begin to work the eggs into the dough with your hands, leaving some flour on the outskirts: you only want to use enough to adequately moisten the dough. I’ve learned to be very cautious with my flour, especially during the winter months in Duluth – drier weather means drier pasta! When the dough holds together and becomes semi-smooth, scrape away the excess flour from the work surface and begin to knead.  


Knead the dough for 10 minutes or so, until it is smooth and elastic. Cut the dough in 6 equal parts, roll these into balls, and wrap each ball in plastic. Let rest at room temperature while you make your filling.

Smoked Lake Superior Lake Trout

With a fork, flake the Lake Trout. I prefer a tail for this recipe: there are less bones to contend with. Gently work the flesh away from the spine, prying a little at a time. Place the flaked trout in a large bowl. To this, mix in the ricotta, lemon zest, and smoked mushrooms (you can also use your own deeply sautéed version, cooled and then small-diced). Taste the mixture and adjust salt and pepper – when you have the seasoning where you want it to be, incorporate the egg. Cover the mixture and refrigerate while you make your herbed almond butter. 



In a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds a few times, adding a little olive oil as you go. When the almonds are fairly broken, add the herbs and more olive oil and puree for 30-40 seconds. Taste the mixture, adding lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste, and also adding enough olive oil to make for a smooth, softer-than-peanut-butter consistency. Place in bowl, cover, and set aside. 

Herbed almond butter preparation

Herbed almond butter ingredients in a blender

Herbed almond butter


Put a large pot of heavily salted water on the stove and crank the heat.Lay a clean cotton cloth on a baking sheet and have nearby your ravioli-making operation. Roll out each dough ball, using either a pasta roller if or a rolling pin, and construct the ravioli each time you roll out the dough rather than rolling all the sheets at once – the pasta will begin to dry out as soon as you roll it, and ravioli likes it sticky! 


For larger ravioli, we hand-rolled the dough and did a fold-over technique for each individual ravioli, rolling the balls out to 6-7 inch approximate rectangles, placing about 3 Tablespoons of filling to the side, folding the dough over the filling, pressing out the air bubbles and simultaneously sealing in the dough, and finally cutting the ravioli free with a biscuit cutter. We then placed the mega-ravioli on the aforementioned cloth.  For smaller (regular size ravioli) you can make several at once, basically repeating the same process but using a scant teaspoon of filling and placing the dollops at regular intervals that accommodate the dough pouch and the dough halo. Instead of a biscuit cutter, use a knife or a ravioli wheel to separate the pasta. Again, place these little guys on the prepared cloth, making sure they don’t touch (they tend to stick together as they dry). 

Rolled out pasta dough

Assembling the smoked lake trout ravioli

Finished smoked lake trout ravioil

Smoked Lake Superior Lake Trout Ravioli

After all the ravioli work, your pasta water should be boiling and ready to go. Gently pick up the cloth and create a hammock for the ravioli and pour them en masse into the pot. If the water is still at a rolling boil after you add the ravioli, turn it down a notch so as not to assault the pasta. Cook until pasta is tender and the filling is heated through – about 4 minutes or so. 


When the pasta is cooked, you can strain them in a colander or remove them to a bowl with a slotted spoon. If you opt for the smaller ravioli, toss them (gently) with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. 


Place a dollop of the almond mixture on a plate, add one mega ravioli (or several smaller ones), add another dollop of almond mixture, another round of ravioli, and then a final dollop of almond mixture. Garnish with fresh-grated cheese and red onion, and eat immediately, if not sooner.

Smoked Lake Trout Ravioli





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Twin Cities are Ganging Up On Us (In a Good Way)

When it comes to Minneapolis, we’ve been trying to get our foot in the culinary door for years – with some success: writers like Rachel Hutton and Rick Nelson have been heaping on praise since the Mid-Aughts, our fanciest distributor, Classic Provisions, has remained a hugely supportive and helpful resource and mouthpiece, and Page Productions plunked us into prime-time Food Network territory when they scouted us for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

 However, when you’re a business in triage formation (due to a good kind of boom) you don’t get around much anymore. It was just last week that we finally were able to break free of the deli and check out our urban counterparts, hoping for inspiration, new products, and some fantastic food.
Who knew there would be so much love? Everywhere we went, we were treated like long-lost cousins: lavished with food, drink, and attention, regaled with information, and positively bolstered with support. And the food was amazing. 

We really enjoyed Midtown Global Market: the spicy curry from Safari Express, the cleverly-named snackies from Left-Handed Cook, and the cheese samples from Grassroots Gourmet whetted our appetites, culminating in a trip downtown and a beer garden bacchanale at Butcher and the Boar, where the riot of garnish on their foot-long hot dogs elevates them to a spiritual plane, and the brussels sprouts are so good they could make you tear up. 

 One of the best stops on our tour was the Minneapolis meat church Kramarczuk’s, where we got a tour, some tips, and heaps of Eastern-European style charcuterie. To be acknowledged by a deservedly worshiped shop like Kramarczuk’s was absolutely beautiful and absolutely unexpected. 

 We finished our trip at the warehouse of Classic Provisions, where we perused aisles upon aisles, cooler upon cooler of the finest foods in the world. The awe was ushered by the equally fine staff at Classic, who somehow know the story behind every one of their hundreds of products. Who knew a warehouse could be an enlightening experience? 

When we returned to the Smokehaus this week, we had plenty of stories, menu ideas, and new products to share, but also our Classic Provisions and Kramarczuk’s spoils, which are being devoured as I type.
So, thanks, Minneapolis. We didn’t know how much we needed that – you burst our Duluth bubble and we don’t need it anymore, because if we took one thing away from this experience (besides several pounds of sausage, specialty chocolate, and enough domestic cheese to open a temporary fondue restaurant) it is that food makes the world smaller, it binds us together, but it is of course bigger any of us – it makes so much possible. This is something we always knew, but started to forget. 

Here’s a few shots of our show-and-tell, courtesy of Kramarczuk’s, Classic Provisions, and Grassroots Gourmet:

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Smokehaus Recipe: Carne Adobada

We have been making carne adobada since the early days of Northern Waters Smokehaus: Eric “discovered” this spicy, satiating dish while visiting his wife’s family in New Mexico. The New Mexican chile, or Hatch Chile, is integral to the recipe – feel free to simplify any or all of the other ingredients, but be firm on this one.

This recipe is a large one, but you can cut it in half if you want to. However, be warned – you will want leftovers, as adobada is great with eggs, in tamales, in soups, as enchilada filling, etcetera. This recipe also requires at least 24 hours (ours takes 3 days), and is especially well worth the time if you make the full amount.

hatch chili cut

Carne Adobada

Ingredients:

10 lbs fat-marbled pork (we use Berkshire pork hams or cheeks, but collar-butts and shoulders work fine)

1/2 lb dried Hatch or New Mexican Chilies, available online, or if you’re lucky, at a nearby grocery store

7 (or so) cloves of garlic

2 Tbsp of chicken base, or 1 cup chicken stock (in which case  lessen the water quantity accordingly)

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 1/2 tsp cumin

2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp dried oregano

Healthy squirt of Sriracha or the like

1 quart of water (if using chicken stock instead of base, lessen the water quantity by 1 cup)

Directions:

ham chunksOn a large cutting board, cut the pork into 1 1/2 – 2 inch cubes. Don’t worry too much about trimming away fat: most of it will be dissolved and enveloped into the sauce as it cooks. Throw the cubes in a large roaster/cast iron/enamel-coated Dutch oven. Use a sharp knife, and enjoy the zen that comes from spending so much time breaking up a large piece of meat. 

adobada cuiseIn a large food processor or blender, pulse the garlic. Cut the woody stems off of the chilies and add to the food processor, seeds and all. Fee free to wear kitchen gloves – the chilies get rather tingly, especially in the eye region. A half pound of chilies should nearly fill a 14 cup processor. If you are using a smaller model, simply split the recipe and do a double batch.

When you have piled in all the trimmed chilies, add the chicken base or stock, sugar, cumin, salt, cinnamon, oregano, and Sriracha. Pulse a few times, then slowly begin to add the water through the feed tube. If you add it too fast, you may have a mini-chile explosion on your hands (and on your kitchen), so take your time, and don’t let the mixture level exceed the lid of the processor. When all the water has been added, let the mixture blend until it is slightly thick and relatively smooth, about 5 more minutes.

adobada finished sauceTaste the mixture, and specifically check for salt. It will be quite spicy, but this attribute will mellow over time, so don’t fret if it knocks your tastebuds back into your palette.

Dump the sauce over your meat cubes, and mix well. Cover the mixture and let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 24 hours, but up to 3 days.

cooking adobadaPreheat your oven to 350ºF. Place the covered mixture in the oven and let roast for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300ºF and let roast for at least 3 more hours (but preferably 4), stirring once in awhile. Uncover and let roast until browned and tender – approximately 30 minutes more. When it’s cool enough to taste, check for salt.

Serve with tortillas and not much else – a touch of yogurt or sour cream and a lightly-dressed pile of bitter greens on the side works out well, but through years of due diligence, we find adobada is best in its simplified form.

 

adobada close up

eating adobada

all done adobada

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Gratitude

What did we do n our summer vacation? A whole lot of smoking, curing, cooking, and serving … with enough room for pleasure.
Thanks
We’ve been blessed with a beautiful, blissful, and extremely busy summer … and we owe a lot of it to the Duluth weather gods, but also to you.
Northern Waters Smokehaus has added many new staff members, lost a few (to the wilds of Alaska, the hipster-sway of Portland, and the ever-present tug of Minneapolis haute cuisine) – but we remain faithfully the same old Smokehaus we’ve always been: hungry, exuberant, curious, and earnest.
 hula hoop Smokehaus party

As our Smokehaus family continues to grow, so does our food knowledge and desire for more flavors, products, and service, so we’ve been spending some time in the basement, developing new recipes and refining some old favorites. Stay tuned for recipes and hints; for now here are a few images that conjure fragments of what was a remarkable summer.

beer fridge; Northern Waters Smokehaus 




Thanks, everybody. Sincerely.
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We Love Our Shop

Summer is here! Our deck is set up, our sandwich menu is booming, and we are ready to take your order!

 

We are truly excited to help out in “the tents” during Marathon Nights, an annual music/food/local beer celebration here at The DeWitt-Seitz Building
We plan on grilling up some sausage and getting down to Charlie Parr. It’s all in honor of Grandma’s Marathon, Duluth’s world-class running challenge (that happens to have a finish line on our figurative back porch). It’s all happening on the weekend of June 21 – Join us!
Until then, here are a few faces to get familiar with this summer – we love meeting new customers, chatting about charcuterie, pig roasting techniques, or fishing the big lake. Whether you stop by our little shop on your way up the North Shore, to check out the Tall Ships, or maybe even to get your hands on a Saucisson Sec, we can’t wait to see you.
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A Day in the Life of a Fish Smoker Part 2: The Rack

After the fish has been brined, Tyson rinses the excess salt and sugar off the salmon. Now comes the racking process: pretty simple except it is important to leave just enough room between the salmon pieces to prevent them sticking together during the smoking. This would be very simple if we didn’t have to stuff the smoker every time we smoke – so we try to squeeze every millimeter of space to accommodate as much fish as possible.

As the fish is racked, Tyson spices some and leaves others bare – our Traditional smoked salmon. The spices – Black Pepper and Coriander; Dill; and Cajun – are evenly sprinkled (or perhaps doused) over the salmon pieces. Once the salmon is sufficiently gussied up, the fish will chill in a constantly-circulating cooler. This creates a kippering affect, sealing in moisture and simultaneously fostering a thin bark around each slice.

salmon_rinsing

salmon rinsing

 

salmon racksalmon rack

salmon rack

salmon spice

 

salmon spicing trio
Atlantic Salmon, set to be smoked