Smoked Salmon with Peppercorn Crust and Tarragon Mustard

Appetizer, serves 8, you’ll need:

  • 1 side of fresh salmon, filleted
  • kosher salt
  • outside grill with lid
  • double handful of wood chips, soaked in water

Tarragon Mustard Sauce ingredients:

Mix all sauce ingredients, season to taste, let stand to blend flavors

Pepper Melange:

  • 1 tbsp each rough, cracked peppercorns using black, white, pink, and szechuan peppers

Light charcoal in outside grill. Allow to burn down to glowing coals while preparing salmon.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly season both sides of filet with kosher salt. Using cracked peppercorns, coat both sides of salmon pressing pepper into filet well. In a large non-stick pan, heat a little vegetable oil and sear filet on both sides for about 2 minutes each. (Cut filet in half, if necessary.) Place salmon on wire rack of grill. Into a small, aluminum foil lined pan, place 3 to 4 hot coals. Place some of the soaked wood chips on top of hot coals to create smoke. Place this pan inside grill on wire rack with fish. Close grill. When smoke subsides, repeat smoking process. After second time, remove salmon to baking dish and place into 325 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until just flaky. Remove from heat and cool. Cut into bite sized squares and serve on platter with sauce on the side.

SOURCE: White House Holiday Recipes 1996, as prepared by White House Chefs Walter Scheib III and Roland Mesnier.

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