smoking section Viet Pham proves that in Utah, smoking is not only allowed, it’s embraced.
smoke in the city Chefs around town are firing up their menus, using smoke to pump up the flavor in many of their traditional dishes.
Here in Utah, all the buzz is about Viet Pham’s new restaurant in Park City, Ember & Ash. Back in September, Pham’s foodie friends received a photo on Facebook: “a sea of mussels smoking gently over blue spruce.” Wow. The very idea makes one’s mouth water. “I think it’s a primal thing,” Pham says. “The smell of smoke is the essence of cooked food, part of the basic human relationship between humans and food.” That said, Pham offers some cautions to would-be smokers: “Less is more. Smoke is a strong aroma and can easily overpower other flavors. It’s best when used subtly–an elusive hint of smoke is often best."
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Even if you don’t have time to smoke your own, there are lots of products you can purchase that will add that inimitable flavor and fragrance to your food. San Simon smoked cow’s milk cheese from Spain, available at Caputo’s, is just one (though one of the best) of the many smoked cheeses. Others include smoked Gouda, smoked mozzarella, smoked Cheddar, Bruder Basil, Rogue Creamery Smoked Blue Cheese and local Apple Walnut Smoked Beehive Cheddar. Smoked shellfish— oysters, clams and mussels—are available
Gnocchi with smoked tomato nage from Pago.
at gourmet markets like Liberty Heights Fresh. Coarse or sea salt smoked over wood is a great way to add a final fillip of flavor. Several local stores carry smoked salts, including Harmons. Chipotles are just smoked jalapeno peppers. A teaspoon or more of them, chopped, adds extra flavor to baked goods, meats, salads, casseroles and just about anything.
House Smoked Rainbow Trout Tin Angel’s kitchen guru Jerry Liedtke uses a Little Chief aluminum box electric smoker loaded with a mix of apple and hickory to smoke Utah trout, which he brines first. Tin Angel Café 365 W. 400 South, SLC 801-328-4155
Smoked Meatloaf Pat’s BBQ smokes meatloaf, along with more traditional brisket, pork and ribs, transforming every mom’s favorite dish into a beerworthy feast. Pat’s BBQ 155 W. Commonwealth Ave., SLC 801-484-5963
Smoked Tomato Nage Pago Chef Phelix Gardner smokes trays of ripe tomatoes, then makes a nage for poaching gnocchi which he serves in the liquid, thickened lightly with cream. Pago 878 S. 900 East, SLC 801-532-0777
House Smoked Salmon Smoked salmon is a standby, but the house-smoked salmon at Caffe Niche is different because it’s hotsmoked in-house, so it cooks while it smokes and comes out moist and flaky. Caffe Niche 779 E. Broadway, SLC 801-433-3380