Sunday, 2 January 2011

My uncle's Smoked Franschhoek Trout with Hot Sesame Oil

I enjoyed many scrumptious feasts over the festive season, but none so splendid as this dish of smoked trout with hot sesame oil. It's not often you taste something so delicious that you feel giddy after the first bite, but here's a dish that made my mouth (and my knees) water. If you like sushi, you'll luurrve this.

My uncle's Smoked Franschhoek Trout with Hot Sesame Oil
My uncle David Walters insisted, on Christmas Eve, that I nip into his kitchen and watch him making what has become his signature dish, and I'm glad I did, because this is a real smasher of a recipe. I begged him to let me share it with you, and he kindly obliged.

Actually, it's such a simple idea that it can hardly be called a recipe. David, who is a master potter, and whose beautiful dinnerware I often feature on this blog, says he got the idea of pouring very hot sesame oil over smoked trout from his friend, chef Reuben Riffel, whose award-winning restaurant is a stone's throw from Dave's house and gallery in Franschhoek. The picture on the left shows Reuben with some of David's bespoke dinnerware.

(Note: Reuben's original recipe for Sesame and Olive Oil Seared Salmon appears in his book Reuben Cooks; Quivertree Press, 2008.)

David borrowed Reuben's idea and added his own clever embellishments, which you'll find listed below.

For this dish, David uses superb locally smoked trout - sometimes called 'salmon trout', and with the texture of excellent smoked salmon - but you could easily use any similar good quality smoked salmon.

Reuben RiffelThis recipe contains a large amount of red and black 'caviar', or lumpfish roe. Please don't be put off by either the ingredient or the quantity you see in the picture. Two members of my family who've never tried roe - and who swore they never would -  ate it with relish, and enjoyed the lovely popping of the little fish eggs so much that they're already demanding more. (You can, of course, leave it out if you face a family mutiny. But please trust me on this!)

I can't give you exact quantities, as I haven't made the dish myself, but here's how David did it.

Cut some good smoked salmon or trout (David used about 500 grams) into strips. David offers some specific instructions: 'You must use lightly smoked Three Streams trout from Franschhoek. Choose thick-cut pieces, without any white fatty streaks. Cut the trout at an angle, so you get long, wide ribbons. Arrange them on a platter made by David Walters. This is not optional!'

My uncle's Smoked Franschhoek Trout with Hot Sesame Oil
If you don't have a plate by David Walters, use a large, flat dish.

Now make your miso mix. Mix a little miso paste or concentrate (available at Oriental shops and at good delicatessans) in about 80 ml water. Consult the package for dilution instructions, or simply mix it to taste. If you can't find miso paste, leave it out.

Fill a metal soup ladle to about three quarters with sesame oil. Place the ladle directly over a gas flame, and heat until the oil is very, very hot, but not yet smoking furiously. (In other words, the oil will be shimmering and swirling, and just about to send up a wisp of smoke.)

If you don't have a gas hob, heat the oil in a small saucepan.

Trickle the hot oil all over the salmon; it will sizzle as it hits the surface of the fish, ever so slightly searing its surface.

Now, artistically please, add the following toppings to the salmon:
  • Miso diluted with a little water (see above)
  • A few tablespoons of Kikkoman soy sauce
  • Some very finely grated fresh ginger (about 4 tsp/20 ml, I would guess)
  • A little finely grated fresh garlic (two or three small cloves)
  • A little showering of black sesame seeds (use toasted white ones if you can't find black)
  • A handful of caperberries, or good capers
  • Large dollops of red lumpfish roe
  • Large dollops of black lumpfish roe
  • A good squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste (but go easy on the salt, as there's plenty of it in the miso and the soy sauce)
If you have some home-made mayonnaise (and I hope you do!), put little dabs of it all the way round the edge of the platter. David's home-made mayonnaise is flavoured with paprika.

Serve immediately, or allow to stand for up to an hour, at room temperature. This is lovely with a little side dish of pickled ginger and wasabi paste.  

Serves 6 as a generous starter; 8 as part of a buffet
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4 comments:

Linda Harding said...

I loved this post! Especially the part about using a David Walter's original - not optional! This dish looks incredible...I am an addict of trout, caviar, capers and every other ingredient you listed. Wow - the picture looks like artwork. Lovely!!

Koek! said...

My knees are watering just LOOKING at that dish!!!
Robyn x

chocswirl said...

Yum, salmon trout ftw! looks delicious!

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Good heavens - this sounds BEYOND sublime!! Clearly a man of many and varied talents ;o)