Salmon Strannik

"Strannik" (pronounced stra-neek) is the Russian word for hobo or wandering soul, and refers to the traditional campfire-style cooking of this dish. (It can be made in the oven if you’re not inclined to go camping.) The recipe is adapted from The Vodka Cookbook by John Rose.

Drink Recommendations: If you do cook this in a fire, some smokiness is bound to blend with the lemon of the vodka and the richness of the fish, butter and cream, making the dish a natural match for a fruity, smoky New World Syrah, a British-style porter, or a wheated Bourbon, served in a rocks glass with an ice cube or two.

  • 4 8-ounce salmon fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1¼ cup Lemon Vodka, such as Absolut Citron or Stoli Citros
  • 1-¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, bruised with the side of a knife
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ounces butter, divided into 4 sections
  • 6 to 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

Season the salmon well with salt and pepper, place in a sealable plastic bag with the lemon vodka and olive oil and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, lay out 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, each about 2 feet in length, one on top of the other. Place the carrot slices in a single layer in the center of the foil, and add the shallots and garlic.

Remove the salmon from the plastic bag, discarding the marinade, and place fillets on top of the shallots. Season the fillets with more salt and pepper, drizzle with lemon juice, and top each with butter and thyme. Pour white wine over the whole lot and drizzle with the cream.

Lay a third length of heavy-duty foil over the top and tightly roll the edges of the sheets together on all sides, snugly enclosing the contents. Then enclose the whole pack in a final layer of foil and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Clear a place among the white coals of a campfire or grill, or preheat the oven to 300°F, and place the packet in the cleared area (or oven), enclosing but not covering it with glowing coals. Cook for 30 minutes or until the salmon is firm and opaque, but still tender.

Remove from the coals (or oven) and open, taking care to avoid the hot burst of steam as you break the seal. Serve garnished with lemon wedges to squeeze over each portion.

Published on July 6, 2010