Note: Times Test Kitchen Manager Noelle Carter uses this recipe to make a quick rillette. Here's how: "I'll take a stick of softened butter and mash it with a few tablespoons of drained capers. Stir in 1 or 2 flaked trout and taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and adjust the acidity with fresh lemon juice. It's great served immediately, but if you can, refrigerate it just a little to give the flavors time to marry (be sure to let it come to room temperature before serving, so it spreads more easily). Served with crostini, it makes a wonderful appetizer!"
Hot-smoked rainbow trout
Total time: 30 minutes, plus brining and smoking time
Note: This recipe requires the use of a smoker, a stove-top smoker, or a grill or roasting rack converted to a smoker.
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Zest of 2 lemons
1 large (or 2 small) bay leaf, crushed
6 (1/2-pound) whole trout, cleaned
Wood shavings for smoking, preferably alder or applewood
1. In a large non-reactive container, combine the water, salt, sugar, shallots, garlic, lemon zest and bay leaf, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve to create a brine.
2. Add the trout to the container, using a plate or weight to keep the trout under water. Place the container in the refrigerator for 6 hours.
3. Remove the trout from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse and dry the trout and place them on a rack over a rimmed sheet pan. Refrigerate the trout, uncovered, overnight to dry the surface.
4. The next day, prepare the hot smoker. Smoke the trout over low heat (about 225 degrees) until firm and fully cooked, about 1 hour.
Each serving: 217 calories; 30 grams protein; 0 carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 84 mg. cholesterol; 0 sugar; 832 mg. sodium.