• Ole at the Smokehouse in North London
  • Preparing the salmon for salting
  • Salting the salmon
  • Readying the smoke room
  • Hanging the salmon
  • Finsihed smoked salmon

The Salmon

At Hansen & Lydersen, we smoke salmon the true Norwegian way.



We source our salmon from a sustainable farm in the extreme wilderness between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, and ensure we prepare it less than 48 hours after it has been fished. We are extremely demanding with our suppliers when it comes to sustainable harvesting standards and welfare practices. This is the best farmed salmon in the world from one of the last family run fish farms.  



Each Hansen & Lydersen salmon is carefully hand-filleted and hand-salted according to a family recipe devised by Norwegian fishmonger Lyder-Nilsen Lydersen in 1923. 

It is then traditionally hung and slowly cold-smoked in the brick kiln of our Stoke Newington smokehouse where it moves in the wind for 12 hours. We use a unique blend of juniper and beech wood for a pleasantly sharp and piquant aroma. Our wood shavings are responsibly sourced, 100% pure wood – with zero chemicals.



Our salmon is always made to order, and delivered pure and fresh out of the kiln. We never freeze it, we never vacuum-pack it, and we never wrap it in plastic.




The resulting salmon is intensely delicious, strong-coloured and smooth textured: a must-try if you haven’t already!

 

History

The Hansen & Lydersen family recipe was devised in 1923 by fishmonger Lyder-Nilsen Lydersen.




Born in 1886, Lyder-Nilsen was a salmon fisherman in Kirkenes, a small town in Norway’s county of Finnmark, situated some 240 miles north of the Arctic Circle. His smoked salmon recipe, using a subtle mixture of juniper and beech woods, turned out a great local success in and around the Varanger Fjord.


His son Leif Lydersen, born in 1916, took over the family business in 1962, teaching his two daugthers Lil and Bodil how to smoke his traditional Kirkenes salmon. The sisters did not carry on with the smoked salmon business. Lil married Hans-Otto Hansen and moved down to the southern city of Stavanger.

It is her son, Ole Hansen, who has now brought his great-grandfather’s recipe to London.


 Ole now runs the family smokehouse in Stoke Newington, North London. True to 4 generations of Hansen and Lydersen craft, he insists on producing his salmon according to the long-standing smoking traditions that have made his family’s success for over 80 years.

 

Craft

We produce our salmon according to long-standing smoking traditions, true to 4 generations of Hansen and Lydersen craft. 

The smokehouse is located on Shelford Place, in Stoke Newington, North London, in an old brick building that used to hold printing works.

The salmon arrives overnight from Bremmnes Norway and is hand-filleted early in the morning, then salted and cured for around 12 hours. The smoking process can then begin :  We have our old-style smoking kiln in what used to be a reinforced boiler room, and use the building's original brick chimney.

Inside the smoking chamber, we have tried to re-create the humidity and temperature of Kirkenes, and subject our salmon with strong "wind", keeping it moving throughout the smoking process, and helping the taste migrate through the flesh. We use 100% pure juniper and beech wood flour and chips from smoked products specialist Dansk Traemel, and smoke the salmon for a minimum of 12 hours.

We are always happy to talk to people about how we do it, so come and visit us at the smokehouse! To arrange a visit please write to sue@hansen-lydersen.com

 

A few things we strongly believe in

1. We smoke the freshest fish 

We know it takes first-class fish to make a first-class product. Some people seem to think that smoking can cover up mouldy or stale fish off-flavours... We only ever use the freshest fish we can find, and always smoke it within 48 hours of it being alive and swimming!

2. We never use frozen fish

We think that would be horrible! We have to say this because most other smokers are not so selective. Frozen fish lacking in oil and colour is often used by salmon smokers, who then have to inject yellow and red dyes into the fish to restore colour. Oil can also be injected back into the fish. In over 80 years, Hansen & Lydersen have never used any type of colouring agents or additives, and we never will, ever.
3. We actually use wood to produce our smoke
This may sound obvious, but did you know that most fish smokers actually use electric smoke generators? We think this is nonsense. We have been working on perfecting our special family wood blend for generations, and we just love the forest smell that juniper provides... We think of it like a mental journey back to childhood, when we were out in the forest picking mushrooms - know what we mean? Nostalgia...
4. We do not believe in paper-thin slicing
Our smoked salmon is vertically cut, in thick slices that enhance the natural taste and texture of the fish. This is the way they serve it in Norway, and is also quite close to the Japanese thick cut sashimi style. Thick cut is our favourite style for smoked salmon, because you really get to sample all of the different overlying flavours of the fish in each slice - from the smoke-flavoured surface layer all the way down to the freshest flesh near the fish skin.

5. We never pack our salmon in plastic

We hate seeing smoked salmon in plastic, vacuum-packed to artificially extend its shelf life. Unopened, vacuum-packed smoked salmon can keep two to three weeks in the refrigerator, but of course once it is opened, it will not last more than two to three days. Our salmon is fresh, has never been frozen or sealed, and will keep very well in a fridge (simply wrapped in paper) for about 10 days. We think of ourselves as a baker, making fresh produce every day. Taste our salmon and you'll know it's worth the hassle!
Watch Ole Hansen, master smoker and founder of the Hansen & Lydersen smokehouse talk about his craft and the philosophies behind being the salmon smoker and the true artisan.