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I Ate ALDI: Cracked Black Pepper Hot Smoked Salmon


I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

Look, I love ALDI. The way some people talk about Target is how I feel about this German import grocery store. It’s weird. It’s cheap. The food is good. You won’t find many name brands there, but it doesn’t matter. It probably could be your only grocery store if you aren’t picky, but god help you if you need something very specific.

Some folks get weirded out by ALDI, which is pretty dumb. So I’m starting a new series of reviews (which are not sponsored by ALDI) to help you guys learn to love ALDI as much as I do.

Specially Selected Cracked Black Pepper Hot Smoked Salmon

After shopping at ALDI for a while you’ll start to recognize some of their house brands. Live G Free is all their gluten-free brand. Pueblo Linda is their Mexican food imprint. Never Any! is the antibiotic-free meats brand. You get the idea.

The best stuff is usually the Specially Selected brand, which is ALDI’s gourmet house brand.

This week I’m eating (and obsessing) over the Specially Selected Hot-Smoked Peppered Salmon ($3.99).

I love cold-smoked salmon, which you can also find occasionally at ALDI, especially as a breakfast item, paired with cream cheese, capers, red onions, tomatoes and a bagel (or, more likely, eaten like a monster out of the package with my fingers while sitting at my desk at the office).

The firmer, flakier hot-smoked salmon is an absolute delight later in the day. It feels more substantial and steak-y than the cold-smoked. I could see flaking it into a light mix of mayonnaise and capers and eating it as a sandwich or crumbling it into a bowl of buttery noodles.

It is also exceedingly perfect for those days when you don’t have time for much of anything. I dumped half a bag of salad mix into a plastic container and dropped the salmon filet onto it whole, snapped on a lid and took off for work.

I pondered adding a salad dressing of some sort, but found it unnecessary. The peppery crust had all the flavor I needed and the oily fish provided enough lubrication to make the bland iceberg lettuce go down easily.

The serving size is half a filet, but serving sizes are just suggestions intended to make you sad, so I peeled off the salmon skin and ate the whole filet with my crunchy white salad.

For an easy dinner garnish or a fast protein burst at lunch, I highly recommend this one.

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.