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.”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ingredients 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
Method 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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