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9 8 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t TAKING ROOT 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 THAT A RESTAURANT WITH EXCEPTIONAL seafood would be named after a province in Nova Scotia known for seafood is hardly surprising. That its chef, Seadon Shouse, was born in Nova Scotia is also not surprising. What is surprising, however, is how Shouse has taken the tradition of smoked seafood to new and unexpected heights at Halifax in the W Hotel in Hoboken, New Jersey, of all places. "I grew up on the Novia Scotia shore, so we ate a lot of fish," Shouse recalls. "I started in the kitchen washing dishes in Virginia, and ended up back in Canada at the Culinary Institute of Canada." Shouse has been at Halifax since it opened nine months ago, crafting a menu of North Eastern farm and coastal cuisine featuring local meat and grains along with sustainable seafood. "I've always love smoked products, and as a kid—and to this day—my favorite was maple hot-smoked salmon belly, so I was happy to put it on Halifax's menu," says Shouse. Traditional items like dill and juniper cold-smoked salmon also make an ap- pearance, as do lesser-known dishes like cold-smoked blue cheese, smoked tomato aioli and seasonal dishes like smoked corn. "We also did a smoked graham cracker crust for a cheesecake a while back," recalls Shouse. Most of Halifax's seafood is sourced "sea to table" from local fisherman, like New Jersey porgy, which is shipped directly from the fisherman to the restaurant. "Pollock is really underutilized, but I love brining and then hot-smoking it," Shouse adds. Shouse uses a Bradley smoker in his commercial kitchen, and a grill at home: "I love the Bradley smoker, because it gives you an easy hot/cold option for smoking; typically most smokers only smoke hot. However, on the Bradley, the smoking box is off to the side, so you don't necessarily have to cook whatever you're smoking. I use hot smoking for cooking protein while also smoking it. Cold smoking is used to give food flavor, but not heat it up." Smoking is not just for professionals like Shouse; beginners can also smoke at home in a grill. Shouse gives us some tips to make the best of your smoking experience. With Chef Seadon Shouse Do's Don'ts OF HALIFAX IN HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY by Jesse Hom-Dawson Don't use too much smoke, or the food may get bitter or taste overwhelmingly of smoke. Don't smoke at too high a temperature or food may dry out. If cold smoking, make sure to keep an eye on your smoker temperature so you do not overcook your items. Don't trap your smoke in. When smoking, the smoke needs to be released, constantly flowing or the smoke will become very bitter on your food. Don't try smoking in your home or in a kitchen that is not well-ventilated. Smoke outside or under a commer- cial hood where the smoke can dissipate. Research what type of wood you want to use for the smoking. I prefer fruit woods for general smoking. If the food item you are smoking is a protein, don't be afraid to brine the meat first to add to the flavor. Until you are comfortable with your recipe, make sure to keep checking your product throughout the smoking process until desired taste. Experiment with smoking all kinds of items. It works for all kinds of foods! If you're smoking meat, start with fresh meat and not pre- viously frozen. Previously frozen meat may dry out during the smoking process. ■cr

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