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I am a HUGE fan of fish, usually in the smoked variety, such as smoked haddock, salmon plus the usuals such as tuna, cod and sea bass (and prawns, albeit, these are categorised as 'Shellfish' - still the word contains 'fish'). For everyone who like smoky fish, Salmon in particulary (obviously), then this review may be of interest!
Asda Extra Special peppered hot smoked salmon fillets (bit of a mouth full to say and the wording sounds a little clumpsy, but then again, I'm reviewing the product, not name!) is located in the fresh fish fridge along side fresh packaged prawns, tuna steaks, haddock fillets, mackeral, cod etc... (usually next to the fresh fish counter). There are two fillets to a pack, usually in different shapes. For example, one pack may have squarer fillets than another pack with longer thinner fillets. They all have the same nutritional info though per fillet:
8.8g of fat
1.6g of sat fat
2g of salt
The little sticky label on top of a cleat plastic covering and black plastic base, also points out that this product is 'high in omega 3' (these are the essential unsaturated fatty acids which the body uses, most commonly, for brain function. Most oily fish like mackeral and fresh tuna also contain high levels of this acid which is why oily fish is extremely healthy).
The label also tries to be tempting with the product description: 'From the cold clear waters of the Hebrides. Lightly smoked and cooked with oak wood for a golden roast. Finished with cracked black pepper.'
Now, the whole 'oak smoked' method desn't really persuade me; if Salmon is smoked, it all tastes the same to me. If you've never tried smoked salmon, only the natural kind, first let me exclaim 'WHAT! You've missed out big time' and secondly, it's a bit like eating smoked bacon (except with the fishy texture). Absolutely delicious.
Anyhow, nutritionally, this is already persuading me to purchase the product when scanning the fish shelf. Ok, it's a little high in fat but this is very healthy fats as found in oily fish. Moreover, the saturates (baddies) are low as well as the calories (unusal for Salmon), Salt, well, I'm not bothered about this at all. I'm further tempted by the fact it's 'smoked, hot' and seasoned with 'black peppercorns' as I like anything that sets my tastebuds alive with spicy flavours. The only this is disuades me from buying this product is the price at a huge £3.47. Fish is usually expensive anyway however, so in perspective, I guess £1.73 isn't all that bad for a piece of Salmon.
The pack says these are ready to eat from the packet but I personally like mine cooked, so that the spices can enrich and absorb into the salmon. These fillets are freezable by the way and I cook them from frozen in about 15 minutes at 160 temperature (just check the middle has defrosted before serving).
On opening the pack I can immediately smell the smokiness of the fish, like freshly cooked smoky bacon (sorry if you are a vegetarian. Try not to imagine this) as well as the cracked black peppercorns which sit on top of the fillets without falling of. The fillets are peachy pink, prior to cooking them and quite firm to touch, albeit, slightly 'wet' (well, it is an oily fish.)
After cooking my fish the smell is just out of this world. The smell of spices fills the kitchen like an indian spice resturant without the horrible 'fishy' smell which puts some people off. The salmon darkens on cooking to become more of a dark pinky/brown colour. The bottom of the fillet still contains the skin layer which you can easily slip off. The fillet is very delicate by this stage so be careful when handling as it tends to breaka part. I usally pop mine onto a kitchen towel first as it does sit in a lot of its own natural pink oils afterwards. I'm betting this is really healthy for you but I just don't like the idea of popping a slippy oily chunk of fish in my mouth.
The fillet is beautifully cooked and tastes wonderful. It literally flakes a part in big chunks when a sink my fork through the flesh which is made from layers of salmon as opposed to one big chunk. The textures is gorgeous. It's ever so chunky in my mouth which adds a certain chewiness to it but after a few chews, it gently breaks a part and melts in my mouth. The peppercorns add the most satisfying crunch to the soft fillet and gives the already smoky taste an extra hot spcy kick as you bite into them (if you've ever tried whole peppercorns you'll know they are very spicy and set your tastebuds a light but not to the point where they are on fire!). The delicate juicy salmon lessens the effect of the hot peppercorns so that it isn't overbaring and the taste of the salmon can still be detected.
Overall, I think this is the best Salmon I have ever tasted and is worth every single penny. It's ideal for people who love hot smoky flavours (and fish!). I feel really healthy after having eaten this with a bot of scrambled egg, veg or rice. I would chose mild flavours to accompany this fish as the flavours are very strong and more spice would probably be overwhelming. Definately one to try!!
Asda Extra Special Peppered Hot Smoked Salmon Fillets