A brief guide to Scotland's smoked fish

Do you know your classic cold smoked from your smokie?

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A brief guide to smoked fish

There's more than one way to smoke a fish. Never confuse your Finnan haddie from your Arbroath smokie again with our brief guide

Hot smoking, the basic method used to prepare Arbroath smokies, differs from cold smoking only in the temperature of the heat source used. For both processes, the fish is first cured in either a brine preparation, which can include flavourings such as rum, molasses or spices, or just dry salt. The fish – most commonly salmon or trout – is then smoked at below 30°C for cold smoking, which produces classic smoked salmon, or between 70 and 80°C for hot smoking.

Another smoked fish with East-coast roots, Finnan haddie, is whole haddock, like the smokie. But it is split and opened up, dry salted overnight, then cold smoked over peat for 8 to 9 hours. Finnan haddies differ from simple smoked haddock in being served on the bone and without the certainties a traditional method gives; and no artificial dyes are used.

Kippers, meanwhile, are smoked herring, split, brined, then cold smoked for between 4 and 24 hours, and are common across the British Isles rather than being a particularly Scottish tradition.

Arbroath Smokies by Iain R. Spink

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