Last week the Friday Fish Challenge winner was a wonderful looking trout dish from Eastchester Fish Gourmet. So it got me to thinking about what I might be able to do to mix things up a bit with trout. If you know me by now, mixing things up is what I like to do! Almost immediately I thought “what about smoked trout?” I used a very delicious product from Cabbage Hill Farm last summer when I did a cooking demo at the season opening for the John Jay Farm Market. The dish I created for that demo used fresh apricots and the combination of smoky and sweet was a bit hit. Taking that a step further I wondered what would happen if I took the smoked trout and added it with dry apricots and spice? I was also looking for a simple seafood spread recipe that would be perfect for my next dinner party. I wondered if smoky, sweet and spicy would really work?
My first step was to find the fish. I got in touch with Cabbage Hill, but they did not have any right now. So after a little checking around I found the Mt. Kisco Smokehouse. I’ve never been there and frankly if you blink you can drive right by it. What I found inside was amazing. Everything you can image, smoked! In addition to the obvious smoked salmon and trout, they also had smoked shrimp and tuna salad. The tuna salad by the way was out of this world … a flavor I just didn’t expect.
I picked up the trout in two forms: first filleted and boned. The cost was literally just $2.00 more to get it this way.
Just for fun I got the whole one to see how much work it would be. In the end it was the same amount of fish, and and added maybe 5 minutes to my prep. Aside from the cost, you do need to search for those darn little bones throughout the filet.
More after the jump …
When I approach an ingredient I consider a couple of things: what will it be paired with, and what can I do to enhance the flavor? I wanted the trout to sing, so in this case less is more. I used only 2 ingredients to make the rillette: creme fraiche and chives. Rillette refers to the final appearance of the dish, and is similar to pate. It’s typically made with meat, like pork, that had been salted, simmered in fat and then shredded to look like a rustic paste or pate. You can also find rillette versions using salmon. For salmon like Dave Lebovitz’s recipe.
The recipe below could not be easier. Simply shred the trout, mix in the creme fraiche and chives and put in the ‘fridge until ready to use. Once that is done you can turn your attention to the topping. Looking around for an idea I came across a recipe in Mario Batali’s Molto Gusto book. Mostarda is an Italian condiment made with fruit that has been candied using simple syrup and mixed with mustard oil. Historically mostardas were served with boiled meats, but in recent years have made an appearance on cheese platters. Mario’s original recipe calls for mustard oil, which I did not have in my pantry, so I got a little creative with oil and dry mustard. I will tell you that I first tried a combo of extra virgin oil and hated the taste. My second try with grapeseed oil and dry hot mustard was perfect. You need a plain oil that will only be a vehicle for the mustard, and not mask the flavor.
Once your apricots are soft and glistening mix in the spice and you are done!
This is a perfect appetizer to put on your holiday table this month. You can make it ahead and plate just before your guests arrive. Smoky, sweet and spicy … how could you go wrong?
- 2 smoked trout, filleted and bones removed, about 16 oz
- 6 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons thinly slice chive, plus more for garnish
- Gently break up the filets with your fingers.
- Fold in the creme fraiche and chives with a a spatula until combined.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Serve with crostinis or water crackers, topped with Apricot Mostarda and garnished with a little chive.
This condiment is also delicious served with cheese.
- 3/4 cup simple syrup, recipe below
- 1 lb dry apricots, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and 1 teaspoon dry hot mustard combined
- Make the simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Reserve what you don't use in the recipe for tea and coffee.
- Combine the apricots, simple syrup and wine in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes, to soften the apricots.
- Transfer the apricots to a bowl and stir in the red pepper flakes, mustard oil combination and allow to cool completely.
- Place in an air tight container in the 'fridge overnight before using.
- Mostarda will keep for up to 1 month in the 'fridge.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Mario Batali's found in Molto Gusto.
Cook time also includes cooling.
Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Maria lives in Port Chester with her husband Larry and their taste tester Cocoa.