Friday, May 11, 2012

Smoked Trout Salad with Fennel and Horseradish Cream

There was more to preserved fish than Norwegian smoked salmon in the 1920s. Australia also imported "Genuine Shetland Cod" as well as Kippers, Bloaters, Whiting Fillets, Findon Haddocks, Red Herrings, Pickled Herrings, Smoked Salmon and Dried Ling.

Homegrown smoked trout was also on the menu, with brown trout introduced into Tasmanian rivers in 1864. In 1925 the Hobart Mercury gave Tasmanian anglers instructions on How to Smoke Trout:

"Cut the fish at one side at right angles to its length through the meat in front of the tail; then split it all the way up the length of the back, including the head, and clean, leaving the belly untouched. 

Put it into brine for four or seven days, according to size - i.e. a mixture heavy enough to float an egg; then add to the brine raw sugar equal in bulk to one twentieth the salt (before immersing the fish). 

When sufficiently salted put the fish under fresh running water for one or two days, then hang up to dry in a muslin bag ("to keep flies off) in a dry place. 

When quite dry, put it to smoke in a shed with an opening in the roof for the smoke to escape, at least 12ft from the entrance where you put the sawdust for smoking. The smoke must be cold when it reaches the fish, which is hung over the opening in the roof. The sawdust should be thoroughly dry, and no resinous sawdust nor green bushes of leaves, should be put on the smoke fire."

This recipe uses Australian-produced smoked trout. Apart from smoked salmon, the only other homegrown smoked fish seems to be Brilliant Food's smoked kingfish - which I will use just as soon as golden beetroot is in season.

Smoked Trout Salad with Fennel and Horseradish Cream 

100g smoked trout
4 potatoes, preferably Nicola or Kipfer
1 bulb fennel
Rocket, watercress, upland cress and/or rinsed capers (all optional)
2 tablespoons fresh horseradish, grated
1 tbsp cream
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Remove any bones from trout; break into small pieces and set aside.

Boil potatoes gently in their skins until just cooked; remove, peel and cut into rounds about 5mm thick.

Top and tail fennel, remove core and outer layer if tough. Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthways; thinly slice.

Mix grated horseradish, cream, vinegar and mustard. Add salt, to taste.

On four entree plates, arrange sliced potato, fennel and salad leaves; squeeze with lemon juice. Pile smoked trout in the middle of each salad, scatter with capers and top with a dessertspoon of horseradish cream. Serves 4.

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