One of my clients recently went on a fishing trip in Tahoe and returned with 10 pounds of fresh-caught steelhead trout for me, so we smoked four pounds of it and enjoyed it with homemade pasta and Alfredo sauce (recipe below). It was delicious!
But that’s not all you can do with smoked trout…as part of a dinner party, I gave cooking lessons to 8 guests and we used some more of the smoked trout for these appetizers:
In addition to the smoked trout, they include herbed goat cheese, lemon cream and fresh trout roe on toast points.
The Smoked Trout Recipe
We smoked our trout in the Big Green Egg with a little bit of cherry wood. We followed this recipe from Alton Brown, although we also used less than half of the salt/sugar mixture.
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
- 2 large trout fillets or sides, pin bones removed
In a bowl, mix together salt, sugar, brown sugar and peppercorns. Spread extra-wide aluminum foil a little longer than the length of the fish and top with an equally long layer of plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the plastic. Lay 1 side of the fish skin down onto the rub. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the flesh of the trout. Place the second side of trout flesh down onto the first side. Use the remaining rub to cover the skin on the top piece. Fold the plastic over to cover them, then close edges of foil together and crimp tightly around the fish.
Place the wrapped fish onto a plank or sheet pan and top with another plank or pan. Weigh with a heavy phone book or a brick or two and refrigerate for 12 hours. Flip the fish over and refrigerate another 12 hours. Some juice will leak out during the process so make sure there’s a place for the runoff to gather.
Unwrap fish and rinse off the cure with cold water. Pat trout with paper towels then place in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until the surface of the fish is dry and matte-like, 1 to 3 hours depending on humidity. A fan may be used to speed the process.
Smoke fish over smoldering hardwood chips or sawdust, keeping the temperature inside the smoker between 150 degrees F and 160 degrees F until the thickest part of the fish registers 150 degrees. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Chef’s Note: The key is an even layer of rub, a nice rinse and a couple of hours drying before going into the smoker. Our smoked trout took about 4 hours at 150-160 degrees to reach a finishing temperature of 150 degrees. It was awesome by itself and excellent in the pasta dish below.
Download and print the trout recipe here.
How to Make Homemade Pasta
We like to make our own pasta, which is fairly easy if you follow this recipe from Kelsey’s Essentials on the Cooking Channel.
- To give the pasta a better texture, we’ve been using 1½ cups All-Purpose flour and ½ cup Semolina flour instead.
- We also like to use the pasta roller attachment for the KitchenAid stand mixer instead of a rolling pin as it’s much easier and provides a more consistent thickness for the noodles.
- 2 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides.
Break the eggs into the well. Add the salt, and olive oil to the hollow center and gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.
With your hands or a bench scraper continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little flour.
Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, the rollers of a pasta roller (or your rolling pin), your hands, and the work surface.
If using a pasta machine: Flatten 1 of the of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval disk. Dust the disk, the roller, and your hands with additional flour. Flour a baking sheet to hold the rolled out finished pasta.
With the roller on the widest setting, pass the pasta through the machine’s rollers a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough over into 1/3, and continue to pass through a few more times until the pasta is smooth again. Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting.
If rolling the pasta by hand: Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval disk with your hands. Flour a baking sheet for the rolled out finished pasta. Place the oval dough disk on a floured work surface, and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin working from the center of the dough outwards, constantly moving the dough and lifting it to make sure it’s not sticking.
Flavor and color variations:
Note: All color additions should be added to eggs before incorporating into the flour. Keep in mind that you will need to add a little bit of flour to your basic pasta recipe to compensate for the additional liquid added.
Spinach Pasta Dough (green hue): Blanch 8 ounces (about 3 cups) spinach leaves. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Press the spinach puree through a small strainer or chinois, removing the liquid before mixing with the eggs. Add 3 tablespoons spinach puree to the eggs before mixing. If the dough feels too sticky, add additional flour until a soft, silky dough is achieved.
Tomato Pasta Dough (orange hue): Add 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste to the eggs before incorporating into the flour.
Beet Pasta Dough (pinkish-red hue): Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roast 1 large beet in aluminum foil about 45 minutes, or until tender. Peel the beet and puree in a food processor. Add the beet puree (about 4 tablespoons) to eggs before incorporating into the flour.
Herb Pasta Dough (speckled): Mince 1/2 cup fresh herbs and add to eggs before incorporating into the flour.
Squid Ink Pasta Dough (black hue): Add 1 tablespoon squid ink to the eggs before incorporating into the flour.
Download and print the homemade pasta recipe here.
Adding the Alfredo Sauce
Once you have the smoked salmon and pasta ready, now it’s just a matter of topping it with a few of your favorite veggies and Alfredo sauce. We included sautéed nopal cactus and fresh San Marzano tomatoes. Trust me, it tasted as good as it looks!
Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.