Bittered Sling's sweet and spicy salmon pops

Salmon bites made with Bittered Sling Denman Bitters and Stein Mountain Farm paprika cream

Bitters isn't just for cocktails. Jonathan Chovancek, co-Proprietor of Bittered Sling Extracts and executive chef of Café Medina, shows us how to use it in this salmon appetizer.

Brine and salmon

4 L water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup wild flower honey
4 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp Bittered Sling Denman Bitters
1 lb wild spring salmon

In a large pot over high heat, bring water to a simmer with salt, honey, onions and garlic. Remove from heat and add bitters. Cool and place in the refrigerator and allow to cool below 4 C.

Place the salmon in the brine and refrigerate 30 minutes. 


2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp Bittered Sling Denman Bitters
1 tbsp cold-pressed sunflower oil

Remove the fish from the brine and gently rinse in fresh cold water. Pat dry and discard the brine.

In a mixing bowl, combine syrup, bitters and oil.

Slice the salmon on a bias into ¼ cm thin rectangular slices, yielding approximately 13 slices. Lay the slices in a casserole dish and pour the marinade over the fish. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. 

Paprika cream

1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp Stein Mountain Farm paprika
1/4 cup panko crumbs, toasted in butter
1/4 cup dried and fresh wild herbs and flowers, finely chopped

In a medium bowl, mix sour cream and paprika until combined.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Using a cocktail skewer, thread one side of the fish like a little flag pole. Wrap the fish around the skewer to create a fish lollipop and dip in panko crumbs. Lay the fish pops on a prepared baking pan lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Dip each salmon pop in the prepared paprika dip, and then into the herbal mixture. Serve cold.

13 pieces