At the Catskill Artisan Smokehouse we buy only the best quality salmon in the world to start with, from the Bay of Fundy or from the best farms of Scotland and Shetland where the waters are very cold and pure
Catskill Artisan? Smokehouse was founded in 1995 by my father Robert Simon. It is a success story of types that can only be found here in America: My dad has always been passionate about fishing; he considers it a ?hobby? while my mother and sisters would say it?s more like an obsession. Up until 1995, my father built homes in upstate New York. Every year, he would take off for three weeks in the summer to fish New York?s Finger Lakes, and three weeks in the winter to sport-fish in the Florida Keys. We would all go on these fishing trips as a family; while my dad and I would be intense about fishing, my mother and three sisters would be equally intense about shopping and relaxing on the beach. Both teams were good at what we liked to do; the women would always come home with a great tan, and the men would have up to 200 pounds of fresh fish. Being far too much fish us to eat, we always gave most of it to his neighbor to smoke for us. The neighbor bartered his services in exchange for half of the fish he would smoke. I remember that both sides were always very happy. In the summer of 1995, we came home from one of our fishing trips, and as always, we were loaded with all types of fishes to be smoked. Upon getting back, my dad called his neighbor and told him to get ready for some serious smoking, but this time the neighbor said ?no?. ?What do you mean, no my dad asked. ?Just smoke these and next time I?ll make different provisions?, he pleaded, but to no avail. We were stuck with about 100 pounds of fresh fish on our hands. A little disappointed in his friend, my dad decided he would not rely on anybody to smoke for him anymore; he began to do some research, built a little smoker, and prepared for his first batch ever. I remember not seeing my father for about four days straight, until finally, when he was finished, he brought in the fruits of his labor for us to taste; we were astonished. It was excellent! It was the best smoked fish I had ever tasted! That night, he brought some to his friend Jean-Jacques, who was chef/owner of L?Auberge des Quattres Saisons. He also loved it, and asked my dad to make some for his restaurant for the upcoming weekend. That is when the idea of a business first entered my father?s mind. At the time, building was slow and the prospect of a new business was very exciting. After a few more batches, he decided to go to big leagues to see if his salmon could cut it; he brought some to his friend, Arnaud Briand, who was then the Executive Chef of New York City?s Rainbow Room. Arnaud said it was a great start, but a little rough around the edges; they worked together over the next couple of weeks to fine-tune the recipe. When the finished product was finally ready, Arnaud said he wanted to get 30 sides as soon as my dad could make them. I remember my father when we left the Rainbow Room?s kitchen; ?The smoker can only make nine sides at a time? he said. I asked him, ?So, what are we going to do He though about it for about 10 seconds and replied, ?We have to build a bigger smoker?. As soon as we got home, my father sat at his drawing table and began designs for a bigger smoker. From that day, where we smoked salmon in our garage, up until now, we have continued to grow based on the fundamental principles of quality fresh fish, an artisan smoking recipe, and close relationships with our chefs.
Located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, we purvey Manhattan?s top establishments with some of the best smoked salmon the city has ever seen. Founded with the notion that quality supersedes quantity, we maintain our tradition of using only the highest grade ingredients. We believe that in order to make the best smoked salmon, we must start out with the best salmon. In order to do this, we fly in our salmon fresh from Scotland?s best farms, where the waters are very cold and pure. From the time of its hatching, each fish is individually cared for until the time we have the pleasure serving it to you.
In our name lies a very important part of who we are as a company. As artisans, we cure and smoke our salmon the old fashioned way. We do not use brine (a liquid salt solution), but instead hand-salt our salmon meaning a more delicate and even distribution of salt throughout each fillet. Once cured, they are cold smoked for hours in a mixture of apple, cherry and other fine fruitwoods- then they are set on racks to dry until they acquire the right texture.
Each piece is then carefully inspected for perfection, instantly chilled, vacuum sealed, labeled and placed in the cooler for shipment. A silkiness on the tongue is the first thing you feel, then a rich, buttery, salmon taste with just a lacing of sweet smoke.
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