Pinneys of Orford
Smoked fish, done properly
More than 50 years ago, Richard Pinney developed a unique system of burning whole oak logs, a system which has been refined but hardly changed to this day. Hot smoked over a open oak fire, Pinney products are flavoured with a lovely smokiness that truly enhances their natural flavour.
But before the smoking, the most important part is to source the fish. You cannot produce good quality smoked products with poor quality fish. They must have the correct oil content if they are wild fish and must be in peak condition. Farmed fish such as trout and salmon must come from top quality producers. Pinney's use Wester Ross salmon which are hand-reared with lots of space in their pens, on the open seas of North West Scotland.
The next stage is to fillet, gut and clean the fish, and then to dry salt or brine them. This is vital for flavouring and preserving. The fish are then hung in the smokehouse where the smoke that is produced from one of the slow, whole oak burning stoves is gently wafted over them for 12 to 48 hours. This is known as cold smoking and the time varies according to the species. Fish such as smoked salmon (for slicing), kippers, bloaters and haddock are only cold smoked. Trout, mackerel, eels and sardines are hot smoked (i.e. cooked), and Pinney's do this by opening up the air vents on the smokebox and roasting them over a blazing hot oak fire. Their method is not an industrial process, more an artisanal approach which relies on the skill of the operator and the years of experience that they have gained.
Pinney's of Orford only use two small vessels, ‘Jolene’ and ‘Southern Cross’ to bring home fresh catches of lobsters, crabs, skate, cod, soles, herring and sprats. Their methods of fishing are very environmentally friendly, using traditional light gear, such as pots, longlines and drift nets that only gently skim the sea bed.
To find out more about Pinney's of Orford visit: www.pinneysoforford.co.uk