Bacon may (or may not) make everything taste better, but if you don't eat meat or just happen to love smoked fish, you might prefer to toss strips of salmon bacon into your next pan of scrambled eggs. Double smoked until they're woodsy-smoky, subtly sweet, and distinctly nonfishy, they won't — and shouldn't — fool real bacon lovers, but they're a nice alternative.
Sullivan Harbor Farm Smokehouse is making what it calls Dave's Bacon, named for its inventor David Brooks, who died about a year ago. The Hancock, Maine, company, just across Frenchman Bay from Mount Desert Island, introduced the bacon in 2010 and sells it at the company's retail store. Brooks, says smokehouse owner Joel Frantzman, "was always trying to make new products." In 2011 and 2012, Dave's Bacon won gold awards from the Specialty Food Association.
"We start with great raw material and we don't screw it up," says Frantzman, 68, who buys farmed Atlantic salmon from a "Best Aquaculture Practices"-certified family operation in New Brunswick, Canada. Sullivan Harbor also smokes scallops, shrimp, and mussels.
To make the smoked salmon, the fillets are first rubbed with salt and brown sugar and cured in a cold room for a half-dozen or so hours (salt draws out moisture). When the fish is ready for the smoker, the salt is rinsed off and the salmon is cold-smoked in special kilns using hickory and cherry woods. Production manager Jamie Young, a former candy maker, explains that salmon bacon requires a few more steps. The smoked fish is cut into thin strips to resemble bacon, brushed with Maine maple syrup, and returned to the smoker. Young's favorite way to eat the bacon is "straight out of the kiln," he says.
Frantzman agrees: "It's kind of addictive." Adding it to scrambled eggs, he says, "is less expensive than caviar." The cost is $12 for 3 ounces.
Serve the double-smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese or as a substitute for bacon in a BLT sandwich or with eggs Benedict. Or let bits of the smoky fish flavor a seafood stew or risotto. No matter how you use it, says Frantzman, "Just be careful not to obscure the taste of the product." He's a fan, of course.
Dave's Bacon available at Wasik's Cheese Shop, 61 Central St., Wellesley, 781-237-0916; Shubie's, 16 Atlantic Ave., Marblehead, 781-631-0149; and Sullivan Harbor Farm Smokehouse, 1545 Route 1, Hancock, Maine,
800-422-4014, or go to www.sullivanharborfarm.com.
Lisa Zwirn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.