Living Off The Land (& Sea)
Hooray! Spring has finally sprung. One of my favorite ways to kick off the new fishing season is to load up a stringer with trout, and then fire up the smoker.
Rainbow trout are one of my favorite fish to smoke. They’re dumb and easy to catch. They aren’t native to my local ponds, they can’t naturally reproduce, and odds are good they won’t survive very long, so I have no regrets about harvesting them. They have a high fat content, and their thin fillets quickly absorb a brine, and are perfect for sopping up that lovely, smoky flavor.
Making a batch of smoked trout is a bit of work and takes some time, but it is well worth the effort. Smoky, salty, sticky and slightly sweet, it is a true culinary delight. There is nothing better than gobbling it up, straight off the smoker. Following is one one of my favorite ways to deal with any leftovers.
Pasta with Smoked Trout Cream Sauce and Peas
Prep time: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
- 8-ounces smoked trout (or salmon) skin removed, crumbled
- 10 ounces pasta of your choice (I prefer fresh linguine)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook it for 1 minute less than the instructions call for.
Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add white wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add half and half and peas and gently simmer 2 to 3 minutes more. Crumble up the smoked trout (remove the skin) and add it to the sauce along with the dill. Raise the heat slightly and cook until the sauce just begins to thicken. (Do not let it boil, this can break the sauce.) Drain pasta and toss in it in the pan with the sauce and heat through. Place the pasta/sauce mixture into individual-sized ceramic baking dishes, and top with grated parmesan cheese. Broil until it just begins to brown on top. Season with salt and pepper, a drizzle of good olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving.