Think of this as an elegant picnic at your dinner table. The salmon has the smokiness of a hot dog, the horseradish gives a bite of mustard, and the cucumbers provide the sharpness of a pickle relish.

Serves 4

Recipe by Chef Rick Moonen.

Recipe Difficulty Medium


  • 4 x 7 oz wild sockeye salmon fillets, skin on
  • 2 tsp lapsang souchong tea powder (see note)
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • ½ cup grated horseradish (fresh or prepared), drained
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
    (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, cut into ¼” slices
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 small red onion, cut into very thin slices
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
  • About 1 cup rice vinegar


  1. Horseradish cream pairs beautifully with anything smoked. If possible, make it the day before to give the flavors time to ripen.
  2. Whisk crème fraîche, horseradish, mustard, dill, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Season with salt and white pepper and whisk again.
  3. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight or for at least 30 min.
  4. Put cucumbers in a colander with a generous teaspoon of salt and toss.
  5. Fill a sealable plastic bag with ice cubes and put on top of cucumbers to weigh them down and keep them very cold. Put colander in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hr.
  6. Take colander out of the bowl and shake cucumbers well over a sink. Do not blot or rinse.
  7. Transfer cucumbers to a bowl and add onion, sugar and dill. Toss to combine.
  8. Add vinegar until it just covers cucumbers.
  9. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr before serving.
  10. Season fish on both sides with salt, then rub all over with tea powder. Wrap fish tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hrs.
  11. Heat a 12-inch skillet over med-high heat. Have a big spoon ready, as well as a few layers of paper towels.
  12. When skillet is hot, cut 4 tbsp butter into pieces and add to skillet. After butter has melted and stopped sizzling, add fish, skin side down to the far side of the pan, leaving space in the part of the pan closest to you.
  13. Lower heat to med and press down on fish with spatula to help skin become crispy and delicious.
  14. After about 2 min, cut remaining 4 tbsp butter into pieces and add to skillet. As the butter melts, tilt the skillet toward you and use a big spoon to baste the fish with the bubbling butter. Remember to occasionally lower the pan to keep it uniformly hot. As you cook and baste, the butter will brown and its nuttiness will flavor the fish.
  15. As the fish cooks, its flesh will turn milky pink. After 5 min, it should feel firm. If you’re unsure, use a knife to poke into your portion; the salmon should be rosy inside. Use a spatula to take fish out of pan and set on paper towels. Use another paper towel to blot the salmon.
  16. Pile a mound of cucumber salad in the center of each plate. Set a piece of salmon on top, skin side up, and spoon a ring of horseradish cream around the cucumber salad.

Rick Says:

I love the pure smoke flavor of lapsang souchong tea. To make the powder, just spoon some tea leaves into a spice grinder and process to a fine dust. Keep it in a glass jar out of the light.

recipe image
Recipe Name
Sockeye Salmon with Smoked Tea
Author Name
Published On
Preparation Time
Cook Time
Total Time

Related Products