Kitchen appliances are the bane of newlyweds. Having been married three times, I've unwrapped a gamut of gadgets–electric can-openers, the inevitable toasters, panini-makers. I'm basically an iron skillet and wooden spoon kind of cook, so most of these labor-savers have ended up in garage sales after the requisite politeness period of gathering dust on the kitchen counter.
Seven or eight years ago–anyway, last wedding–we were given a Cameron stovetop smoker. The culinary friend who gave it to me said she and her husband used it all the time, that it was so easy! that I'd love it and she was sure we'd use it all the time.
I didn't say anything except thank you, but in my mind I put this gift in the electric can-opener category and shoved it under the bed.
Three weeks ago, we finally unwrapped it and, on a crazy whim, decided to give it a try before taking it to DI.
Since then, we've eaten smoked fish once a week. Totally hooked.
It's so easy. Basically a roasting pan with a rack and a locking lid, there's nothing to plug in and no batteries to buy. You just put some wood chips in the bottom, cover them with a drip pan, arrange your food on a rack over that and put it over a medium-hot burner. When you start to see smoke, lock in the lid and set the timer. Depending on what you're smoking (haha), dinner will be ready in 10 minutes to half an hour.
To many of you, I probably sound like I just discovered fire. (It's so hot! It cooks food!) Stovetop smokers are not a new invention. But this thing is so simple, it's like discovering another iron skillet.
Sure enough, we use it all the time. Last night: smoked Coho salmon, butter lettuce with blue cheese dressing, fresh ciabbatta from Harmons. Last Saturday: smoked Idaho trout, green beans with pancetta, corn with caramelized onions, dill bread, tomato salad.