You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. I mean that in two ways as it’s both easy to make, so no scope for going wrong there, and it also holds it’s ground in the fabulous tasting stakes, so no wrongness to be found there either.
Originally, I was determined that this receipe was to be made specifically with hot smoked trout, rather than the cold smoked fish that I’ve used. If you’re unsure of the difference, hot smoking uses hot smoke, which cooks the fish leaving it light pink in colour, as if cooked normally. Cold smoking, which is the type applied to ‘traditional’ smoked salmon, is done with cold smoke, leaving the fish looking more like raw fish.
However, monsieur Sainsbury and his staff were against me when I went shopping. Despite prolonged efforts and no matter how intently I stared at the chilled fish section, hot smoked trout simply didn’t appear. I even went back to the fish fridge at the end of my shopping trip, just to make sure the elusive ingredient hadn’t snuck in whilst I was deciding which loo roll to buy. In a last ditch attempt, I prowled the fishmonger’s display, just in case some hot smoked trout was to be found nestling in between some fresh Gurnard and Hake. But alas, no.
Dejectedly, I walked back with a pack of cold smoked trout, feeling as though the bottom had fallen out of this recipe’s world. But once I had worked out the dressing ratios and mixed the salad up, the cook in me realised that frankly, it didn’t matter if it’s hot or cold smoked, this recipe will taste great with either. Even smoked salmon (hot or cold smoked) would work OK, and I would venture that smoked mackerel might be OK as well.
So if this tale of shopping misadventure were to have a moral, it would be to stop obsessing over the details of recipes and try different ways of doing things. Experiment a bit and you never know, the world might not actually end if you can’t quite find that ‘perfect’ ingredient.
Smoked trout salad with fennel and dill
By Gavin Wren
Serves 2 as a main
120g hot or cold smoked trout, broken into chucks/strips
120g cooked beetroot, halved and sliced
1 bulb fennel, halved and sliced
100g radishes, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
25g pack dill, roughly chopped
Horseradish, lemon and yoghurt dressing:
3 tablespoons of any natural yoghurt (cow, goat, sheep, soy etc.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons horseradish sauce
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
300g new potatoes
Put the fennel, radish, spring onions and dill into a bowl and mix well. Add the beetroot (and potatoes, if using) and mix a little bit more. Lay a bed of rocket on each plate, then pile the rest of the salad over it, topping off with the salmon. Pour the dressing on top of it all.