Smoked Trout w/ Pickled Onions

Smoked Trout w/ Pickled Onions

Photo by David M.

  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • 1

    cup pickling liquid (recipe below)

  • 1

    red cipollini onion, sliced into paper-thin rings on a mandoline

  • 2

    skin-on trout fillets

  • Coarse sea salt

  • Fresh ground black pepper

  • A little lemon zest

  • ½

    cup crème fraîche

  • 1

    tsp fresh ground horseradish

  • 6

    pieces country bread, toasted

  • Fresh fennel blossoms, fennel fronds, or sprigs of dill

  • Drizzle of fruity olive oil

  • For pickling liquid (makes 3 cups):

  • 2

    cups cider vinegar

  • ¼

    cup sugar

  • 1

    tbsp each mustard seed, black peppercorns, coriander seed, fennel seed, and guindilla pepper

  • 2

    sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1

    sprig fresh dill

  • 2

    cloves garlic


Combine all pickling-liquid ingredients with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 cup of the pickling liquid (reserve the rest for future uses). Add the onion and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. To smoke the trout, line a large pot with foil and place a handful of wood chips or twigs on the foil. Ignite wood with a long match or kitchen torch and let burn until you have a nice little fire going. Cover the pot only part way, leaving room for air so the fire will keep burning. Meanwhile, season trout fillets with salt, pepper, and a little lemon zest. Place fillets on a rack that fits easily inside the pot. Cover the pot tightly and wait a minute for the flame to go out, then quickly slip in the rack and the trout, trying not to let much smoke escape before closing the cover again. Let trout sit in smoke for about 5 minutes (or more to taste). If you want thoroughly smoked fish, remove the trout from the pot and start another little fire, then smoke the trout another 10–15 minutes. Peel skin from trout and cut each fillet into 3 small pieces. In a small bowl, fold together the crème fraîche and the horseradish. Smear a dollop on each piece of toast and top with a piece of smoked trout and a few rings of pickled onion. Place on a platter and finish with coarse sea salt, pepper, fennel blossoms, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 6.


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