We notched up the heat and aromatics with this partially liquid cure for trout fillets – also worth trying with salmon. The trout took on some zingy flavour highlights as well as turning a beautiful deep colour after smoking over beech dust. Our fillets had been frozen and defrosted before we began and this is good practice for cured smoked fish as the freezing process eliminates some of the bacteria present in the fish. The cure completes the anti-bacterial process. If you’re working with fresh line-caught fish there are some useful tutorials on YouTube demonstrating how to gut and debone the fish to create perfect fillets! Well worth a look.
The liquid ingredients in this cure mix create a partial brine-style cure, all of which is applied at the beginning and the trout fillets are left to ‘marinade’ which perversely draws out moisture and stablises the fish ready for smoking.
1. Lightly crush the whole coriander seeds, finely chop the ginger, garlic, chilli and fresh coriander, juice and grate the lemon and add these together with the soy sauce, honey and lemon juice in a large jug style bowl.
2. Sprinkle a layer of salt onto the base of a porcelain or plastic dish and lay the fillets skin-side down on top of the salt. Tip all of the marinade cure mix to the top of the fillets and spread evenly, pushing into the flesh with your spoon. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 12 to 20 hours.
3. Once the fillets have taken on a deep colouring and a firmer texture, remove from the cure mix, rinse and dry carefully. Leave to air dry on a rack for a couple of hours in a cool place, before cold smoking. The outer surface of the trout should feel a little tacky and this ‘pellicule’ coating will help the absorption of the beech smoking dust. Beech is a wonderfully subtle flavour which is always a complement to existing flavours. It’s also always a reliable consistency for use in the ProQ Cold Smoke Generator which works best with a uniform, fine wood dust. Cold smoke for around 4 to 6 hours. They won’t need long.
4. After smoking, allow the smoked fillets to settle for an hour or so, before slicing thinly. Now it’s ready to enjoy!
- 1kg trout fillets
- 250g coarse sea salt
- 100ml honey
- 100ml light soy sauce
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 2 red chillis
- 3cm chunk of chilli
- 2 garlic cloves
- whole coriander
- fresh coriander
- Beech for a subtle, nutty wood flavour