This is a really simple, light and refreshing dish that can be served as a light lunch, a snack or a starter. Whilst I prefer to use trout, as I often smoke my own but any oily hot smoked fish will work well including mackerel, kippers or even eel. Hot smoking the fish yourself will give the best results and most impress your guests, and this can easily be done on any kettle BBQ but supermarket pre-cooked (rather than cured like cold smoked salmon) smoked fish will also do just fine.
- 2 trout fillets (500g) fresh if you plan to hot smoke your own
- 100g salt
- Small bunch of fresh parsley
- Small bunch of fresh fennel or dill
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons crème fresh
- Salt and pepper to season
1To hot smoke your trout take the fillets and lay skin side down on a baking tray, cover the flesh side with your salt, cover and leave in the fridge for an hour. If using pre hot smoked fillets skip straight to stage 5.
2Now set up your barbecue to cook indirect, which means to have a pile of lit coals in one corner, but the majority of the grill should have no heat directly under it. See my YouTube video of this recipe for details.
3After an hour in the fridge the fillets should feel slightly firmer than when they went in, and you will see that some of the moisture has been drawn out. Wash the excess salt off the fillets with cold water, pat them dry with some kitchen towel and then transfer to an old wooden board if you have one, if not then a clean baking tray will be fine.
4Now place the board with the fillets onto the part of the grill with no direct heat underneath (otherwise it/they will burn), throw some wood chips or chunks onto the coals, cherry or oak wood is great, and then put the lid on. Open the vents on the barbecue both top and bottom, and leave the fillets to cook indirectly for around 30 minutes or until the flesh will flake away from the skin. Allow to cool.
5Now take your smoked fillets and flake all of the flesh away from the skin into a bowl. Discard the skin. Now simply add chopped parsley and fennel, the juice and zest of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of crème fresh and a little salt and pepper to the bowl and mix the ingredients thoroughly.
6Serve the pate on fresh crusty white bread or toast.