To match a Russian Feast...

Marinated Smoked Salmon
Syomga Marinovannay
a totally counter-intuitive recipe, but wait till you taste it

-  I n g r e d i e n t s  -

Smoked Salmon - 1 1/2 Pounds, see notes
Red or Bermuda Onion - 3 medium ones, sliced and separated into rings
Black Pepper Corns - 1/2 tsp
Bay Leaves - 4 Turkish  -or-  3 large California Bay leaves, crushed
Mustard Seed - 3/4 tsp
Olive Oil - 1
1/2 Cups of high quality
Canola Oil - 1
1/2 Cups
Vinegar - 1
1/2 Cups White Wine Vinegar  -or-  1 3/4 Cups Rice Wine Vinegar
Garlic - 6 cloves crushed          Salt - 1 Tbs          Garnish, see note below

-  T o o l s  -

Knife, Cutting Board, Medium Mixing Bowl, Whisk, Measuring Cup & Spoons
A brightly colored Serving Plate with a Serving Spatula
Two wide-mouth liter glass jars, or the equivalent with lids

-  T h e   B i g   P i c t u r e  -

When you read this recipe, I won't blame you a bit if you say to yourself,
"I don't get it."
Why take a fancy food that is already fancified and then marinate it?
And all I can say to the defense of this dish is...  taste it.
Also keep in mind that this should marinate for at least 1 week prior to serving.
So, on to the ingredients.  This uses the cold smoked salmon, the kind that is
also known as lox.  Not the warm or hot smoked salmon that is drier and chunkier.
The best source is to go to a good deli and get a product called 'Lox Trim'.
This is the stuff they trim off the salmon in the process of making the beautiful slices.
Whatever you do, don't buy the beautiful slices at the expensive deli.
I you can't find lox trim, then go to Costco and get the Kirkland Smoked Salmon
in the large package.  As a note, my preference is for Turkish rather than California Bay Leaves.
The Turkish leaves have higher perfumes and blend better with other aromas.
The spice jar should tell you the source of the leaves, but the Turkish ones are smaller.
The choice of vinegars is also important.  If it is white wine vinegar, it should be white wine
and not sherry vinegar.  The sherry version is more oxidized and nuttier, great for some
uses, but not for this.  If you are in doubt about the quality of the white wine vinegar,
use the unseasoned rice wine vinegar (seasoned rice wine vinegar has sugar and salt in it).
As a third alternative, and maybe the best, you can make a blend of the good white wine
vinegar and the rice wine vinegar.  Now you are cooking.
The original recipe called for a quart jar to store the marinate, and I tripled the recipe,
so use a gallon jar or some combination of jars that have a wide mouth where you can get in
enough of your hand to do the layering.  This will be enough appetizer for 20+ people.

- T h e   P r e p p i n g    a n d    L a y e r i n g -

At least 1 week before, start the marinading process.  Cut the Onions into somewhat thin discs
and break apart the rings.  Crush the 4 Bay Leaves.  Do not crush the 3/4 tsp of Mustard Seed,
or the 1/2 tsp of Black Peppercorns.  Open your package of Salmon.
Start the layering with a few rings of onions, then layer in some of the salmon, a bit of the
spices (bay leaves, mustard seed, black peppercorns) more onions, salmon, spices, etc.
Once the jars are full, or the salmon gone, take a medium sized mixing bowl and add the
Olive and Canola Oils.  You should have 3 cups altogether of the oils.  With a whisk,
blend in your choice of Vinegar.  Add the 6 cloves of crushed Garlic and 1 Tablespoon of Salt.
Whisk away.  Pour this dressing over the salmon layers.  The salmon should be covered, if not,
press the layers down until the onions cave-in a little.  Seal the jars ( read: do
not pilfer).
Put the jar/s in the refrigerator for at least a week and try to forget about them.

-  T o   T h e   A p p e t i z e r   T a b l e  -

Hopefully you did not have a sampling program to check the progress of the salmon.
Now if you used lox trim rather than the slices, your presentation job is much easier
because you can't make them look all-that-good.  If you used slices, don't sweat the
presentation.  Just put it on a beautiful plate with a little garnish.  Don't get too carried away,
but you can use one or two of the following:
curly parsley, discs of lemon, discs of cucumber, shaved fennel, etc.
As counter-intuitive as the dish may be, you will be more than ready for the party.

We would like to thank Darra Goldstein
The author of  
At the Dacha, Russian Home Cooking
This book is out of print, and it must be loved because it's hard to find used ones,
but she has others.  Go to and type in Darra Goldstein in the search box.
We have adapted her recipes here and there, but done under the watchful eye of Andy Zaharoff.

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