knife for slicing smoked salmon?
I just found a great place for buying smoked salmon (i.e. lox) in bulk, but they don't slice it beautifully like the places I had been going--they don't slice it at all. What is the best kind of knife for slicing salmon thinly and evenly? Any tips on technique also appreciated. Thanks.
"Thanks for the advice. Now I will go look for a cheap version of one of those knives!"
Look for a Dexter/Rusell. The cheaper ones are used almost as throwaways in the food industry - they have light plastic handles and are stamped - but they're actually quite good for limited (or short-term) use and are quite cheap. I have their ham slicer - which I use maybe a dozen times a year and could never justify spending real money on. If you're reasonably dexterous, you could use a filet knife, too, which is more useful for other things than a salmon slicer per se.
At Russ & Daughters, they use medium length slicers, worn down so far from constant sharpening that you can't tell much about the original shape. They have a sharp tip for cutting out any dark areas, fat or skin. I think a roast beef slicer of the "flexible" type would work. I have a Wusthof flexible slicer that works very well, but it's a bit too long.
The main thing is to keep it razor sharp and slice at about a 15 degree angle, almost horizontal.
Strangely enough, there is something called a salmon knife, good for slicing raw or smoked salmon; it's typically also good for slicing ham, or a tender, hot roast.
A traditional salmon knife has a long blade (10-12"), and is not serated. The end of the knife can be pointed, though more traditionally it is rounded off, so it can be used to serve the slices without poking holes in them.
Henkels makes one:
And Wusthof makes a few different versions, including some which have indentations in the side of the blade, to keep slices from sticking.
Sabatier used to make one (I know because I have it) but their current website doesn't list one.
As far as tips/technique go - definitely keep it sharp for the cleanest cut, and use the length to advantage to have a single, nice, long, 'sweeping' motion for each slice. A good knife will cut well on the push or pull stroke, without excessive pressure; if you find you have to saw back and forth or push hard, you probably need to sharpen it again (otherwise you'll find that you're deforming the salmon and you'll find the texture of your slices leave a lot to be desired.)
Also, a tip I got from my dad years ago: if you chronically find that you can't get a slice which is even in thickness, you might do better if you concentrate on keeping your knife angle and motion consistent relative to the main block of whatever you're slicing, rather than concentrating on the slice itself.