I first tasted smoked trout when we lived in Baltimore. At a farmers’ market near our home, owners of the Metropol Café had a booth where they served all kinds of smoked seafood as well as cheeses. I remember the wonderful aroma and flavor of the smoked trout. One of the two women had gone to Scandinavia to master cold-smoking techniques of preserving seafood.
Now we live in Oregon and I’ve become pretty adept at catching trout and Charles has developed a method of smoking in our Weber kettle grill. You don’t need a fancy smoker to smoke meats and seafood. All you need is a Weber kettle grill.
Use as little charcoal as possible because you don’t want a lot of heat. You just need enough to put under your wood chips to heat them.
You can get wood chips for smoking at specialty stores or at Lowe’s, where they usually sell Weber grills. You can also sometimes find wood chips at fireplace stores.
I’ve found that alder wood and apple wood lend a really nice flavor to trout and salmon. But I’ve also tried smoking trout with dried lemongrass, which lends a pungent Thai twist to the seafood.
When the coals are lit, pile them all to one side of the grill. Make a rectangular tray out of heavy-duty aluminum foil and fill the tray with the wood chips. Set the aluminum tray filled with wood chips on top of the pile of coals and put the grill on the kettle. Oil the grill with a paper towel dipped in canola oil to keep the fish from sticking and then arrange the cleaned fish on the grill on the side opposite the coals by spreading open their stomach cavities to keep them upright. Cover the kettle and open the vent about a quarter of the way so that the coals won’t go out.
The trout can be smoked a day ahead and the mousse can be kept in the fridge , so you have one dish out of the way for your dinner party. After all, when entertaining, it’s always helpful to plan dishes that can be made ahead of time to leave as little as possible to do at the last minute.
Smoked Trout Mousse
Note: I usually double this recipe to have enough to serve as appetizers for a dinner party of eight.
- 2 smoked trout fillets (about 8 ounces/225 gr. total)
- 3/4 cup (180 ml.) well-chilled heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml.) coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) water
- 1/4 cup (60 ml.) fresh dill, chopped coarse
- In a food processor purée trout with butter, lemon juice, salt and 1/4 cup (60 ml.) of the heavy cream until smooth, and transfer to a bowl.
- In a very small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over water and let soften 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
- In a bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml.) of heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks.
- Fold the whipped cream into the trout purée mixture. Add the dissolved gelatin and stir until incorporated and pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the chopped dill, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 12 hours.
- Serve with crackers, melba toast, sliced apples, or sliced cucumbers.