Barbecued whole fillet

You could also do this with individual fillet steaks, but the whole fillet makes for an impressive centrepiece at a gathering and can be divided up however you wish for everyone to tuck into.

Steelhead Trout is amazing barbecued: it simply melts in the mouth. You can use foil or damp newspaper if you prefer, but we love the crispy skin straight from the grill – just make sure you oil the grill well beforehand.

1 whole fillet of Steelhead Trout (1kg)
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Chopped thyme or oregano

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub over the flesh of the fillet. You can slash the fish and push the marinade into the cuts. Leave it for 10 minutes but no longer, as the citrus will begin to cook the fish.

Place the fillet skin side down on the grill, adding some sliced lemon, and cook over medium-hot coals. A Steelhead Trout is thicker than a smaller river trout, so you need to cook it through without burning it on the hottest coals. Do not turn it over. It will take around 10-15 minutes to be delicately cooked through – the middle should just be turning pale when you check in the slashes.

Carefully transfer using two spatulas onto a serving board. You will be able to slide the flesh easily off the skin and can crisp that up further if you want to. Serve with fries, or a fresh green salad, or wrap it into a flatbread with an accompaniment like tartare sauce or su’mac yoghurt.

A million reasons to eat trout

We’ve had the joy recently of working with Dr Lucy Williamson, nutritionist & ambassador for Love British Food. We all know about how oily fish + Omega 3s are good for us, but trout has so many amazing health benefits that with Lucy’s help, we’ve dug deeper. It’s a long list but no apologies!

The pink colour of trout is due to an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which we convert into Vitamin A. We need this for our barrier immune system – the immune cells lining airways + intestines – & for healthy vision. Astaxanthin boosts our ability to repair cells & equip us against long-term disease.

There are 2 types of Omega 3 in fish – DHA & EPA. DHA is 60% of the fat in our brain tissue, so it’s important in pregnancy for the development of babies, & as a low-mercury fish trout is safe to eat, & when breastfeeding too.

EPA is in our cell membranes; it helps cells function properly. In the immune system, where there are lots of cells with different functions, it’s very important. It also improves the lining of blood vessels, making them healthy & elastic, protecting against blood pressure problems, heart disease, stroke…

Omega 3 is also a fantastic anti-inflammatory. We can get it from plants too, but we’re not so efficient at converting it into DHA + EPA, so we need to eat a lot more to achieve the same benefit, whereas in trout it comes ready to absorb.

Fish is about the only food that’s a really good source of Vitamin D. 95% of our Vitamin D comes from the sun, but when we’re not out so much or the weather’s wintry, we really need to get it from our food; it’s important for healthy bones & the immune system too.

Protein is needed for growth & in the over 65s, when muscles start to weaken, the protein from fish in particular provides every type of amino acid that the body needs to keep muscles strong.

It’s a good source of Vitamin B12, to prevent anaemia & neurological problems, & we become less able to absorb this when we get older so keeping it in our diet is key.

Finally iodine. It’s becoming evident in the UK that we have low levels of iodine, which keeps the thyroid functioning & brain development too.

A million reasons to eat trout!

Hands-on Smoking

There’s not a week that goes by that we don’t thank our lucky stars for having Ruari and Donald Murray in the neighbouring glen to smoke our fish. Ruari’s father David set up the smokehouse, so the skill runs deep in their family. They run their own amazing shop in Lochgilphead, as well as smoking our fish and the wonderful Gigha halibut.

We have worked with them for decades, and their skill (and patience!) as we get to grips with establishing new customers and the learning curve of sending mail order from the West Coast (don’t get us started!) has helped us enormously.  

The fresh trout are hand-filleted and pin-boned, and then are hand-cured with a dry salt rub, (never immersed in brine) overnight for 12 hours. Then they are rinsed, and put in the smoker, using oak from retired whisky barrels, for 8-12 hours at 30 degrees. This doesn’t cook the fish, just removes the moisture. It’s then chilled, sliced by hand, and packed.

With our hot smoke, we follow the same procedure but then gently cook the fish, adding a honey glaze.  

A customer recently asked if we added sugar to our cold-smoke; they were amazed by how naturally sweet-tasting it was. “No,” said Donald, “That’s one of the distinguishing features of the trout. It is slightly sweeter, and nearly always a little firmer than salmon, which makes for a lovely textured smoked fish at the end.”

Cooking a Whole Fillet

From the Kames Farm Kitchen.

What better for Mother’s Day than a fillet of beautiful fish? And even better if you know how to cook it! We often find customers shy away from the bigger fillet because they think it’s harder to cook when they’re used to portions. The reality is it couldn’t be easier – and here are our top tips:

  1. Keep it moist. You have to be careful not to let it dry it out when cooking a larger trout fillet. Lay the fillet skin side down on a largish sheet of buttered tinfoil, on top of lemon slices or herbs, and then cover with more herbs or lemon slices – or something similar – plus some more little pieces of butter.

  2. Let out the steam. Pull the sides of the foil up around the trout, and pour a small amount of white wine around the trout, before sealing the foil into a parcel, but leaving a small gap at the top to let any steam out. It’ll keep it moist but not over-steam it.

  3. Don’t forget to unwrap. Cook it for about 25 minutes in an 180 degrees C fan oven. When out of the oven, if not eating immediately, open the parcel so that the fish doesn’t keep baking.

Burns Night Smoked Trout & Tattie Scones

Mini Tattie Scones with Beet & Whisky Creme Fraiche and Kames Smoked Steelhead Trout. Very Scottish, and very delicious. These make an ideal starter to the mighty haggis, and aren’t too heavy. Rabbie would approve!

Makes about 20 canapes. Can all be made a day in advance and assembled just before eating.
3 medium sized potatoes
25g butter
3 tbsp double cream
4 tbsp creme fraiche
4 small beetroots, cooked and peeled
2 tsp horseradish
2 tsp whisky
Squeeze of lemon
200g Kames Smoked Steelhead Trout
Garnish of fresh dill

First make the tattie scones. Peel and boil the potatoes until soft, drain and mash them with the butter. Then stir in the double cream – add more if needed, to make a heavy batter. Do not be tempted to add milk to the mash.

Heat a frying pan or griddle pan on a medium heat and fry spoonfuls of the batter in a little vegetable oil, carefully flipping after 4 minutes. They will firm up once cool so do not worry if they seem uncooked in the middle, just take them off when they are golden brown on both sides. Lay them on kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil. You should have about 20 blini-sized scones.

Whiz in a blender the creme fraiche, horseradish, whisky and lemon. Taste to suit. I rather like the sharpness of the fiery beetroot packs you can buy in the supermarket – in which case go easy on the horseradish. But if using home cooked beetroot, you might want to add more horseradish and whisky for an extra kick. A peaty whisky is nice here; I used Jura.

When the scones are cool, teaspoon a dollop of the beetroot mixture on each and cut the trout into thin strips. Roll it up and place on top, with a little fresh dill.

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