Smoked trout is a criminally underreported ingredient in my book. Smoked salmon gets all kinds of attention, in its cold-smoked form as the centerpiece of bagels, but the humble trout has no one to sing its praises. It's always found in hot-smoked form, meaning it's fully cooked and flaky. Healthy and relatively inexpensive, you can add it to any number of dishes—soups, spreads, and pastas. I still think about the smoked trout patties I made while back, which were wonderfully flavorful.
I came across this recipe in a Times Online article, which lists five unique ways to use smoked trout. I went with their first suggestion, a dip which they've fancifully called a "pâté." Whatever you want to call it, I took this appetizer and turned it into a light summer meal with a big salad of lightly dressed mesclun greens alongside. Finn Crisp crackers, available in many grocery stores, were the perfect vehicle for the creamy, smoky concoction balanced with lemon juice and spiked with a pinch of cayenne.
- 10 ounces smoked trout fillet, skin and bones removed
- 3.5 ounces cream cheese
- Juice of half a lemon
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Rye crackers or toast
Mash the fillets with the cream cheese and lemon juice. Season to taste (the trout will already be somewhat salty).
Add a pinch of cayenne, if desired and to taste. Serve on crackers or toast.