Smoke and forage

If you enjoy the alchemy and adventure of smoking and foraging for food but have never had the courage to do it, then this is the recipe for you. I’ve spent hours searching through the undergrowth filling my basket with wild and wonderful fungi, that turn out to be unidentifiable, inedible or even deadly. Wild garlic is easily recognisable. Not only for its familiar aroma but pretty white pom-pom flowers and broad green leaves.

Waste not: Smoking helps preserve food. If you have a piece of fish or meat that needs using. Smoke it to give it delicious flavour and another four days shelf life in the fridge.

Hot smoking – All you need is a good extractor fan, tin foil, a roasting tray and a rack that sits inside it. If your worried about the fire alarm then use a bbq or camp stove outside. I tried this recipe out at home and it was fine.

25g tea leaves
50g rice
Lemon zest of one lemon (save the lemon for the dressing)
A few pinches of various aromatics, I like allspice and mace
2 fillets of your favourite fish in this case rainbow trout
100g salt

Method

1) In order to firm up the flesh of your fish for smoking sprinkle the fillets with a generous dusting of salt and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse the salt off and pat dry with a tea towel.

2) Place your roasting tray on the hob with the tea and aromatics in the bottom. Put your rack inside the roasting tray, making sure it doesn’t come into contact with the tea leaves. Place the fish on the rack and seal with foil or a lid if you have one.

3) Put on a moderate heat for about 15 minutes. The fish will now keep for a further three days.

Smoked trout, new potatoes, bitter leaves, wild garlic and horseradish – serves 4 as a starter

2 fillets of smoked trout
Small bunch of wild garlic, shredded
1 radicchio and 1 little gem or romaine. Washed
250g New potatoes, boiled till soft
Knob of horseradish, grated
The juice of one lemon
150g creme fraiche

Method

1) Mix the creme fraiche with the lemon juice, horseradish and season with salt and pepper. I like a generous amount of horseradish to make the dressing hot and sulphurous.

2) In a large bowl cut the potatoes in half, add the horseradish dressing. Mix, just enough to cover the pots. Add the radicchio, little gem, wild garlic salt and pepper and the trout fillets broken into large pieces. Turn everything together very carefully so not to break up the fish and not smother the colourful leaves completely in the dressing.

3) Serve tall on a white plate

Chefs Notes: Rainbow trout is the most widely farmed fish in the UK and is available at most fishmongers all year around, it is a good choice of fish as the farming methods have a relatively low impact on the local eco-systems. The Marine Conservation Society say “Buying organic farmed trout is the best choice to make as fish stocking densities are generally lower in comparison to non-organic farms, feed is sourced sustainably and welfare of a high standard”.

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