Hot-smoked trout on rye toasts
- November 2021
- Serves 4-6 as a starter
- Hands-on time 30 min, plus 45 min curing and lighting/heating the barbecue and 6 1/2 min simmering time
Gill Meller fires up the barbecue to create an outdoorsy festive treat: a nice big fillet of home-cured, hot-smoked trout, served with eggs on rye toasts.
For more ways with sustainable trout, take a look at our trout recipes collection.
- 29.3g (8.9g saturated)
- 23.7g (5.1g sugars)
- 750g-1kg sustainable trout or wild salmon fillet (or in 2 fillets), skin on, pin boned
For the cure
- 5 tbsp fine sea salt
- 1½ tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
For the sauce
- 3 tbsp crème fraîche
- 2 tsp mustard (any you like)
- 2 tsp golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- Bunch dill, half finely chopped
- 3 medium free-range eggs at room temperature
- 6 slices dark rye bread
- Butter for spreading
- 3-4 small ready-cooked beetroot
You’ll also need
- Charcoal BBQ
- Sustainable smoking chips/chunks (hickory, oak or apple)
- Combine all the ingredients for the cure in a small bowl. Scatter a third of the cure onto a large platter or plate. Lay the fish fillet skin-side down on the cure, then scatter over the rest of the mixture. You’ll need to add more cure to the thicker areas of the fish. Leave the fillet to cure for 45 minutes (see Know How).
- Rinse the cure off the fish, pat dry with kitchen paper and put on a clean plate. Leave the fish in the fridge, uncovered, until you’re ready to cook (see Make Ahead).
- Meanwhile put the eggs in a small pan and cover with water. Set the pan over a high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 6½ minutes, drain and refresh under cold running water. Peel the eggs and set aside.
- For the mustard sauce, combine the crème fraîche, mustard, golden caster sugar and vinegar with a good twist of black pepper, a pinch of salt and the chopped dill. Mix well and set aside.
- Light your barbecue and, when the flames have died back and you have some lovely hot coals glowing white, you’ll be ready to cook. Add a few small pieces of hardwood or hardwood chips to your fire so it begins to really smoke (see Know How).
- Lay the fish flesh-side down over the smoky fire and cook for 6-8 minutes or until it’s almost cooked. If your barbecue has a lid, close it – it’ll help keep the smoke in and will mean you won’t need to turn the fish during cooking. If it doesn’t have a lid, turn the fish over and cook for a minute or so on the other side (or see tips for Gill’s method). The exact cooking time will depend on how hot the barbecue is and how far away the fish is from the heat. Either way, you can tell when the fish is cooked; the flakes of flesh will separate with the point of your knife.
7 Toast the bread over the hot coals until it’s beginning to crisp round its edges. Arrange the toasts over a platter or board. Spread each toast with a little butter, then flake the fish over the top in chunks. Quarter the soft-boiled eggs and arrange over the fish. Cut the beetroot into wedges and arrange over the toasts too. Spoon over a few generous dots of the mustardy dressing and scatter over the remaining dill fronds. Season with a touch of salt and black pepper, then serve.
Where to buy your fish: If, unlike Gill, you’re not lucky enough to have great suppliers down the road, you can buy large sustainable trout fillets from chalkstreamfoods. co.uk. Ocado sells 450g fillets of Leap wild sockeye salmon – two of those are ideal for this project.
The fish can be cured up to 12 hours ahead. Rinse and dry, then store uncovered in the fridge. The outer surface will develop a firmer texture and absorb more smoky flavour. Cover leftover fish and keep chilled for up to 2 days.
Soaking the wood chips in water for 30 minutes or so will make them give off more smoke when burning.
Curing the fish firms the flesh and adds flavour.
You’ll get a smokier, juicier fish if you put the coals on one side of the barbecue, then smoke the fish on the other – over indirect heat, lid down, for 20-30 minutes.
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