In the olden days, there were two ways to preserve fish: smoking and salting. Refrigeration has changed all that, but, at North Fork Smoked Fish, Phil Karlin is trying to preserve both fish and what he calls "an ancient art."
In fact, he uses a combination of smoke, brine (salty water) and refrigeration to create his wares. "Refrigeration allows me to use less salt than I would be able to otherwise," he said. "My fish will last about 15 days in the fridge -- up to a month if it's vacuum-sealed."
Karlin, the child of fishmongers and also a former member of the United States Coast Guard, has been smoking fish for years and selling it at farmers markets and wholesale to restaurants and markets. Earlier this summer, he established a retail store in downtown Greenport as well as an online market on his website.
Smoked bluefish pate is a signature item. Sweet and mild, it has converted more than one bluefish skeptic, as have the burnished golden bluefish fillets. Karlin uses a combination of hickory and a little cherry to smoke it. "You need a strong wood to stand up to bluefish," he said. Salmon fillets, smoked over oak, are milder, juicy and tender.
The online store sells seven fillets and pates ($25 to $35 a pound). At the Greenport store, the regular items are supplemented with such treasures as fresh taramasalata ($9 for 8 ounces), smoked trout ($21.95), eels ($22.95 a pound) and, on occasion, smoked striped bass ($23.95) and even lobster ($16.95 a pound). I combined the lobster meat with mayonnaise and fresh tarragon and put it on a sandwich with bacon and tomato: A very fine BLT.
North Fork Smoked Fish Co.
414 First St., Greenport