Word to the wise? Always have smoked trout on hand. It'll quickly jazz up dishes for expected guests, and add its distinct, smoky, tongue-smacking flavour to otherwise plain salads and omelettes.
By
Christine Osmond

8 Nov 2013 - 4:42 PM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2014 - 1:07 PM

Hot-smoked trout is a great fridge staple that'll keep unopened for around a month. The technique of hot-smoking food imparts a distinct wood-smoke flavour to fish, meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables, nuts and even hard-boiled eggs. This centuries-old method of preservation was originally applied to fatty fish and meat, by cooking them all the way through, thus slowing the deterioration of the fat.

While fish is traditionally smoked over hardwood, in smokehouses or in the open air, modern production generally involves the use of temperature-controlled kilns, and condensates such as liquid smoke, to hasten and stabilise the process. (Liquid smoke is a naturally derived flavouring, but avoid products that list “artificial smoke” as an ingredient.) Producers who favour traditional methods are worth seeking out, as the flavour and texture of their products are considered superior. If you want to try your hand at hot-smoking your own fish, make sure you use contaminant-free woodchips or sawdust.

For a delicate flavour, choose hot-smoked rainbow (brown) trout, and if you’re squeamish about bones, try the more robustly flavoured and textured ocean trout. Generally speaking, the two are interchangeable in most recipes. Hot-smoked trout is a great standby for camping as it will survive quite happily in a cooler for a few days. It’s also very rich, so a little goes a long way.

1. Jasmine tea-smoked rainbow trout

Combine ½ cup jasmine tea leaves, ½ cup long-grain rice and 2 tbsp brown sugar. Line the base of a wok with a double layer of foil and fill with tea mixture. Place 2 lightly salted fresh rainbow trout in a steamer, place in the wok, cover and smoke for 20 minutes or until just cooked through.

2. Green gazpacho with smoked trout croutons

Blitz cucumber, green capsicum, avocado, mint, spring onions, sherry vinegar and green tabasco until smooth. Add enough water to make a soup consistency, season and refrigerate until chilled. Saute sourdough croutons and 1 garlic clove in olive oil until golden. Add flaked smoked trout, finely chopped parsley and season well. Serve chilled soup in glasses topped with crouton-trout mixture.  

3. Thai trout salad

Combine flaked, hot-smoked ocean trout with mint, coriander and Thai basil leaves, a handful of salad leaves, halved cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumber. Make a classic nuoc cham with lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, garlic and chilli. Toss through the salad and serve in gem lettuce cups sprinkled with fried shallots.

4. Petit omelette with trout, peas and crème fraîche

Melt butter in a small non-stick frying pan, pour in 2 lightly seasoned beaten eggs and cook over low heat until the egg is just cooked on the base but still runny in the centre. Scatter with flaked hot-smoked rainbow trout, dollops of crème fraiche, cooked peas and coarsely chopped mint.

5. Casarecce with zucchini, trout, chilli and summer herbs

Saute thinly sliced zucchini in olive oil until golden, then add crushed garlic and a good pinch dried chilli flakes, season and cook for 1 minute. Add drained, cooked casarecce pasta (or any other short pasta), lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, chopped mint and parsley and flaked smoked trout. Serve with grated parmesan.

6. Chilled somen noodle, sesame, cucumber and trout salad

Make a dressing with ⅓ cup light soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tbsp ground toasted sesame seeds. Toss through 270 g cooked, chilled somen noodles, then add sliced cucumber, chopped avocado and flaked hot-smoked trout. Toss gently to combine.

7. Smoked trout fattoush

A play on the Lebanese classic, this version gives it that little something extra to truly make a splash at your next summer picnic. You could prep the salad one day ahead, keeping the bread and dressing separate, and toss together before serving. This way, the bread stays crisp, which is crucial.

8. Trout and fennel cakes with green goddess dressing

Green goddess dressing is thought to have been created in 1923 by the chef of the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, who wanted to pay tribute to the lead actor in a stage production of the same name. It pairs beautifully with just about any seafood. These bites are great for parties because you can prep the dressing and cakes ahead, frying the cakes just before serving.

9. Creamed smoked trout and horseradish pots

For times when you’ve got guests staying over and cereal just won't cut it, this creamed smoked trout on toasted brioche is a no-fuss breakfast. It works just as wonderfully on finger sandwiches with thinly sliced cucumber.

10. Smoked trout-stuffed paratha

These trout-stuffed Indian breads spell party. The filling can be prepared the day before, making them quick to put together on the day. If it's an outdoor affair you're hosting, the flatbread also cooks well on a lightly oiled barbecue hot plate.

 

Photographs by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Tumblers from Maxwell and Williams; beaker from Koskela.