Smoked trout, crème fraîche, lemon, fresh crusty bread… I mean really, does it get any better? Ok, ok – maybe throw in a glass (bottle) of chilled bubbles, or a crisp cider and we’re really talking heaven.
I’ve always been fond of smoked fish. My dad and brother are keen fishermen, so growing up there was a pretty steady supply of fresh fish – and as we lived inland, it was often trout. Dad would fillet it and smoke it in a small box smoker in the backyard and we’d eat it with fresh bread and potato salad for dinner. Delicious. I love the smoky, salty, fish flavour and the smell always reminds me of warm summer evenings and eating outside.
Apart from straight out of the smoker in lovely large flakes, this is my new favourite way to eat smoked trout. Mashed up with a generous dollop of crème fraîche, some lemon zest and thyme, and spread thickly on fresh crusty bread (this delicious loaf courtesy of my clever husband). It’s perfect summer food and the best party food as you can prepare it ahead of time – meaning minimum fuss, but maximum flavour – what could be better?
I nabbed this recipe from the River Cottage Australia series – you can find the original recipe here – but have tweaked it slightly (more crème fraîche is always a good idea, right?). If you don’t have a box smoker, you can just buy a smoked trout from your fish-monger and skip this step.
Smoked trout rillettes
1 medium sized rainbow or brown trout, filleted
1 tbsp brown sugar
generous sprinkle sea salt
3 tbsp crème fraîche
zest 1 lemon
1 tbsp finely chopped lemon thyme
fresh bread and lemon wedges, to serve
Lay trout fillets skin side down on a smoker rack and sprinkle with brown sugar and a generous amount of salt. Massage salt and sugar into the fillets and allow to sit for 1/2 – 1 hour (in the fridge if it is hot).
Smoke the trout in a box smoker for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and fish flakes easily. Allow to cool on rack.
Once the fish is cool, use your fingers to flake it into a mixing bowl, taking care to remove all the small bones. Add crème fraîche, lemon zest and lemon thyme and mix to combine. Taste the mix to check seasoning – adding freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste (the fish is quite salty, so shouldn’t need much, if any more salt added).
Serve straight away on fresh crusty bread with a squeeze of lemon and a nice green salad – shaved fennel and watercress works beautifully – or pack into an airtight container and store in the fridge until needed (it keeps happily in the fridge for a few days).