Smoked Trout With Asparagus-Lemon Crema

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The rich flavor of smoked trout is balanced perfectly by this cool spring crema.

Flavorful but not-fishy trout,
with its mild, sweet flavor and flakey-firm texture is marvelously suited to
smoking. It adapts beautifully to a variety of seasonings, so you can experiment
with herbs and spices according to availability and preference. Splitting a
couple of whole trout, all by themselves, among whoever’s at the dinner table
is an exquisite way to enjoy these fish, but they’ll also taste great as
leftovers in chilled salads and dips, or as a rich addition to soups and
chowders. You can keep smoked trout (with bones removed) in the freezer for
several months. Serves 4 to 6.

2 cups wood chips with mild flavor
(apple, cherry, hickory, alder or oak)

2 whole trout, gutted and gilled with heads on (if using filets, reduce
smoking time)

Olive oil, for coating
1/4 pound tender asparagus, peeled
1/2 cup lemon crema (see recipe)

2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp fresh garlic, diced

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, thyme or tarragon
1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tbsp fresh garlic, diced

Soak the wood chips in water until
saturated, about an hour. Rinse fish in cold water, and pat dry. Coat with
olive oil, then pat the rub of your choice all over the fish, inside and out.
Add the wood chips to the preheated smoker, then smoke the fish according to
your smoker’s directions for about 90 minutes at approximately 200 degrees. The
fish is finished when the flesh is flaky and opaque.

Blanch then purée asparagus, and
stir it into the lemon crema. It’s easy to remove bones from cooked trout, so
you can serve pieces or whole filets. Garnish with a dollop of crema.

See Also:
Eat In Season: Asparagus