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What about right-in-the-oven smoking?

What about right-in-the-oven smoking?

A hint of hickory smoke in the air makesmost mouths water in anticipation of a succulent treat from the barbecue. But you can have the same effect--and achieve similar flavor--without a fire, using just your oven.

We call the technique oven-smoking, andthe ingredient that makes it possible is "liquid smoke.' This preparation flavors foods, but it does not preserve them as true smoking--brining followed by partial drying--does.

This pale chestnut-color liquid, sold insmall bottles alongside seasoning sauces in the supermarket, is actually made from smoke. As hickory wood burns, the smoke is captured in tubes, where it cools and condenses, then is filtered and bottled. You may also find it in flavors made with other woods, such as mesquite, in gourmet food stores and mail-order catalogs.

Oven-smoking is actually a combinationof baking and steaming. The equipment is simple: a 5- to 6-quart pan or casserole with a tight-fitting lid and a rack that will fit inside.

Essentially, all you do is pour a smallamount of liquid smoke in the pan, set foods you want to cook and flavor on the rack in the pan, cover the pan, and bake. As the liquid smoke evaporates, it permeates the food. You can control the intensity of the flavor by changing the amount of liquid smoke you use. Remember: a little goes a long way, and the smoke flavor tastes stronger when the foods are cold.

Smaller cuts of meat and individual piecesof fish or seafood, none more than about 2 inches thick, work best. Those suggested in the chart at right can help you get started with your own experiments. If you want to smoke-flavor more than one food at a time or make a larger quantity, use more than one pan.

Although no real smoke is generated, theevaporating liquid smoke has a very penetrating odor. It will fill the kitchen and cling to your hair and clothes. If you prefer not to greet guests with these fragrances, you may want to do your oven-smoking early in the day, or even the day before, and serve the smoked food chilled or at room temperature.

Oven-smoked foods will keep well for atleast two days. To store, wrap securely to prevent the smoke flavor from permeating other items in the refrigerator.

Obvious foods to select for oven-smokingare those that are delicious when smoked by conventional methods: salmon, trout, shellfish, poultry, and pork. However, this process lends itself to more imaginative possibilities, such as oven-smoked thin-skinned potatoes--delicious and useful either hot or cold.

You can serve these foods straight fromthe oven, tepid, or chilled. The recipes here give you some examples of each way: the mussels are tasty hot or cold, chicken breast and potatoes can go into salads, and salmon is best warm with linguine.

Smoked Mussels with Lemon Mayonnaise

Smoked mussels (see chart atright), hot or cold

1/2 cup lemon mayonnaise (recipefollows)

Arrange mussels on a platter with a smallbowl of lemon mayonnaise. Pluck mussels from shell with a small fork or wooden pick and dip into mayonnaise. Makes 3 or 4 appetizer servings.

Lemon mayonnaise. In a blender or foodprocessor, whirl 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic, 1 large egg, and 1/8 teaspoon paprika until blended. With motor running, slowly pour in 1 cup salad oil until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Smoked Chicken Breast Salad

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

3/4 cup pecan halves

1 1/2 quarts mixed salad greens (such asbutter and romaine lettuce, watercress), washed and crisped

4 smoked chicken breast halves (seechart at right), chilled

Orange vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Melt butter in an 8- to 10-inch frying panover low heat. Add pecans and stir until nuts darken slightly and have a toasted flavor, about 6 minutes. Pour onto paper towels to drain.

Arrange an equal amount of salad greenson 4 dinner plates and sprinkle greens equally with the pecans.

Cut each half-breast in slanting slices 1/4inch thick. Arrange overlapping slices of each half on a plate alongside greens. Spoon vinaigrette over greens and chicken. Makes 4 servings.

Orange vinaigrette. In a bowl, combine 1/4cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons salad oil, 1 tablespoon thinly slivered or shredded orange peel (colored part only), 2 teaspoons honey, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper.

Smoked Potato Salad

1 1/2 pounds cold smoked thin-skinnedpotatoes (see chart on page 139), but into 1/2-inch cubes

2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced

2 green onions (roots trimmed), thinlysliced

1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers

1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon mayonnaise (recipeprecedes)

Salt and pepper

In a bowl, gently mix together the potatoes,celery, onions, and capers. Stir in 1/3 cup lemon mayonnaise; add more mayonnaise if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, or cover and chill up to 2 days. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Pasta and Smoked Salmon

3/4 pound salmon fillet, skin removed,and fish cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips

2 quarts water

3/4 pound dry linguine or spaghetti

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup fresh parsley sprigs

Salt and pepper

Smoke salmon strips as directed in charton page 139 for salmon fillet, but reduce time to 10 to 12 minutes; let stand.

Bring water to boiling in a 4- to 6-quartpan over high heat. Add linguine and cook, uncovered, until tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain.

As linguine cooks, boil vinegar with onionin a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat until vinegar evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add cream, wine, and mustard. Boil uncovered, stirring often, until sauce is reduced to 1 3/4 cups. Add hot drained linguine; lift with forks to coat with sauce.

Divide linguine and sauce evenly among 4dinner plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese. Arrange an equal amount of salmon beside each serving of linguine. Garnish with parsley. Mix salmon with linguine; season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 entree servings.

Photo: Liquid smoke evaporates under baking foods to permeate themwith a subtle hickory smoke flavor. It doesn't take much; 3 tablespoons is enough for any of our recipes

Photo: Mmmm! Hickory smoke aroma rises from pan as she checks progress of mussels in the shell; they're on a rack over liquid smoke. Served hot or cold (below) to dunk in lemon mayonnaise, they make tasty appetizers NORMAN A. PLATE

Photo: Oven-smoked chicken breast for salad has apale amber surface; add orange vinaigrette

Photo: Spoon chutney onto oven-smoked pork chop;it's an easy dinner with rice and cucumbers
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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Mar 1, 1987
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