The Comité Départemental de Tourisme de Saint-Saint-Denis recently organized a visit to L’Atelier du Saumon, a store in the town of Saint-Denis where fresh Scottish salmon is processed. The owner of the store, Laurent Leymonie, gave a one-hour presentation about how he prepares the fish for sale.
Leymonie buys only Scottish salmon that is certified “Label Rouge,” a guarantee that food products have undergone certain standards of control and production. The salmon is raised on a fish farm in Scotland and shipped to him. Upon reception of the fish, he follows a five-step process to prepare it for his customers:
• First, Leymonie covers the salmon with pure, white salt for about six to seven hours. Salting removes excess water from the fish and prevents bacteria from growing.
• Next, he places the fish in a drying chamber. This process removes water, but does not dry the fish.
• He then lays the salmon in a smoker where the fish reposes in the smoke of burning beech wood for about six to seven hours at 25° C.
• Following the smoking, he lets the salmon rest 24 hours in a refrigerated chamber, allowing the aroma of the smoke to permeate the fish.
• Finally, he packages the fish for sale, using a special machine to evacuate the air and seal the salmon in a vacuum-tight package.
The resulting product is a delicate, flavorsome fish with a mild, smoky flavor. It is delicious!
Part of Leymonie’s presentation was a demonstration of the technique for slicing the fish. Participants were encouraged to try their hand at it; best of all, following the slicing was the tasting!
Perhaps even more interesting than learning about the preparation of salmon was to learn that Mr. Leymonie worked for thirty years as a cameraman and photo director. Perceiving changes in the industry and a diminution of his passion for the work, he decided that the moment had come to switch careers. He enrolled in the cooking school École Ferrandi and received a Certificate d’Aptitude Professionnelle. During his studies he was introduced to the techniques of smoking salmon and decided that he would pursue a career in that niche. This was a good choice, given that his lack of experience in the restaurant industry at his age would prohibit him from entering a career path in cuisine. After a period of experimenting with various techniques of smoking salmon, he was ready to open his shop. Today he has loyal customers, including a number of restaurants that purchase his product.
L’Atelier du Saumon
11, rue de la Charronnerie
93200 Saint Denis
Open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Web site: www.atelierdusaumon.com
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