Monday, August 23, 2010

Holy Smokes!

Not just the fish but the entire flat was smoked! Yes, I didn't heed warnings to do this outside because I was too curious and excited to get to it. I had learned about smoking fish using simple tools like a wok and some foil from a Masterclass episode of Masterchef a few months ago. When I read this blog post last week I remembered that I wanted to try it out.  

Taking the tips from both sources, I got started. I had some green tea leaves, trout fillets and a wok with a rack. This really felt like a kitchen experiment. Smelling the wonderful aroma and thinking about the rich smokey flavored fish we were going to have for dinner, I was smiling all throughout the process. Mr. P is not a huge fan of fish. He likes it but is a little picky about it. Smoked is not on the top of his list. Yes, I was taking a risk here but the discovery of a new technique was definitely worth it.

Tea Smoked Trout
400g of trout fillets
Splash of white wine and lemon juice
salt and pepper

1/2 cup jasmine rice
1/2 cup tea leaves (I used the peach flavoured green tea I have now)
1/2 cup sugar 

Season the fish with the salt, pepper, lemon juice and white wine while preparing the rest of the ingredients. I read that some cure the fish prior to smoking while others just go straight to smoking. So, I decided to go half way and marinate my fish briefly.
The smoking mixture in its foil receptacle.
Make a receptacle out of foil for the smoking mixture. Put the rice, tea and sugar and in it and place the whole thing at the bottom of the wok. Spray or brush the rack with some oil. Turn the heat to med-high and cover the wok. Once the mixture starts to smoke, lay the fish fillets on the rack and cover the wok tightly. Use some foil to seal off the sides if like mine, your cover is not tight enough. Allow your fish to smoke for 6-8 minutes until it flakes easily with a fork. Turn off the heat and set fish aside. (If you plan on doing this indoors, I suggested taking your covered wok outside and removing the cover there. That way most of the smoke will just waft through open air, and not into every room and corner of the house.)
I decided to make an herbed yogurt sauce for the fish.

Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup of Natural Yogurt
1 clove of Garlic
a handful of chopped herbs: I had basil, chives, parsley and a bit of rosemary
1T lemon juice
2T extra virgin olive oil

Put the yogurt in a sieve lined with a sheet of paper towel or a cheese cloth. Allow it to drain for about 6 hours. Meanwhile, grind the garlic, chopped herbs, a dash of the olive oil, salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle. 
Once the mixture is finely ground whisk in the rest of the olive oil and the lemon juice. When the yogurt is ready, put it in a bowl and whisk in the garlic and herb mixture to blend. You can do this in a food processor too. Add lemon juice and/or olive oil to thin it out if necessary. Season to taste.

To cut through the rich smokey taste, I made a citrus salad and to make it a full meal, accompanied it with lentil puttanesca and a forgotten sweet potato that I just roasted.

Green Salad with Fennel and Citrus
a bunch of mixed greens good for two
half a bulb of fennel
segments of 1 mandarin orange

I'm not a huge fan of raw fennel so I just roasted it for 8 minutes in the oven with a little bit of salt, pepper and olive oil. Once done, let it cool and toss with the greens and orange segments. I like to do the segments over the salad so any juice that runs just works to further dress the leaves. 

Lentil Puttanesca
-half a red onion, finely chopped
-1 garlic clove, finely chopped
-1 anchovy fillet, chopped
-1 tablespoon of capers
-2 tablespoons of black olives, roughly chopped
-1 tomato, roughly chopped
-1 can of french lentils
-2T red wine vinegar
-1-2T extra virgin olive oil
-1T parsley, finely chopped
-1T basil, finely chopped
-dash of chili flakes
-salt and pepper

Chop the onion finely and saute in the olive oil until tender. Add the chopped garlic to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper. Once the garlic begins to cook, add the tomatoes and allow it to soften slightly with the heat. Toss in the anchovies, capers, olives and lentils. Stir lightly to combine and heat through. Pour in the red wine vinegar and stir through. Remove from heat and finish with the chopped herbs, chili flakes and a dash of extra virgin olive oil. 

Due to the saltiness of the anchovy, capers and olives, you may just need to add pepper and omit the salt in the final seasoning. Check to see if the taste is to your liking.

For the final assembly, toss the fennel, greens and cooled lentils together. Arrange the orange segments nicely over the salad and place the roasted sweet potato discs neatly around the dish. I then flaked the smoked trout into slightly large chunks and put this on top of the salad, in between orange segments. Spoon the yogurt sauce over each chunk of fish. 

The combination of flavours was really refreshing. Both Mr. P and I could not get enough. The light citrus and vinegar from the lentil salad cut through the richness of the fish perfectly. It was a light and delicious one-dish dinner and would make a great addition to a barbecue or a picnic.


  1. This sounds delicious! I may have to rig up an experiment of my own pretty soon!

  2. Thanks for dropping by Peggy and yes, it was really good, you should try it. : )

  3. Yay, glad you liked it Rone. I wish there was La Pescaderia in Sydney for my fish nights. : )

  4. Ming I just saw this post! I've been wanting to cold smoke for ages now but can't figure out how to do it in a home!!! If you do figure it out please share!!!

    BTW, the fish looks YUMMY!!! How long did the smokey smell stay in the flat?? hehehehe