Meet our current favorite breakfast treat. We have been smoking a lot of trout lately, and while it is fantastic all by itself, we enjoy it even more after it has been sitting in olive oil for a few days. The oil takes on the smokey/salty character of the fish to give it a great flavor.
Lately, we've been buying our trout from El Pescador in La Jolla. We have been very pleased with the quality of their fish.
After removing the heads, we season the trout with a quick brine. For three fish we use 3 cups cold water, 6 tablespoons kosher salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 minced garlic clove and a large pinch of allspice mixed up in a plastic bag.
After a 60 minute soak, we rinse them off and let them dry on a rack overnight in the refrigerator. The next day it's on to the smoker for about three hours at a gentle 150-180 degrees over apple and oak.
And this is what they look like when they're done.
Once the fillets have cooled, we peel off the skin and pack the flesh into small mason jars, along with with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Since we don't do a heat processing step, these aren't really "preserved" so we only make 3 or 4 jars at a time and store them chilled.
When we're in the mood for some smoked trout for breakfast, we just grab a jar out of the fridge. A quick zap in the microwave (on low power - otherwise the olive oil freaks out) is all it takes to make it nice and warm and aromatic.
We like to have it on crackers or thin slices of bread, along with some red onion and tomato.
It makes a pretty darned good addition to a salad, too...