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Ceylon Supreme Smoked Trout Tostada

The flavour of the smoked trout is wonderfully complemented by pepian sauce, a southern Mexican speciality.

Ceylon Supreme Smoked Trout Tostada

Though excellent quality smoked trout may be purchased from delis and speciality stores, it is also a surprising easy thing to do yourself.  The flavour of the smoked trout is wonderfully complimented by pepian sauce, a southern Mexican speciality usually made from toasted pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds or a mixture the two. The toasted seeds give a beautiful, nutty flavour to the sauce with just a hint of heat from the chilli pequin.

Makes 20

2 rainbow trouts, cleaned

1 cup Dilmah Ceylon Supreme tea

1 cup mesquite wood chips

Salsa pepian

100 g tomato

500 g tomatillo or green tomato

100 g white onion

60 g hulled pumpkin seed

60 g sesame seeds

3 whole allspice

2 pequin chilies

Salt, to taste 

To assemble

20 tostadas or lightly salted tortilla chips

½ cup of julienned spring onion

½ cup of julienned firm mango

½ cup of thinly sliced sweet eshallot

6 small red chilies, seeds removed and julienned

6 small green chilies, seeds removed and julienned

½ cup julienned red radish

Method 

Place the smoking chips in a non-reactive bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for at least 2 hours (or as recommended by the manufacturer). Drain and shake off any excess water.

Place the chips in the base of a smoking box with the tea. Put the lid on, then place the box on a medium to high heat for 5-10 minutes or until the chips start to smoke.

Remove the lid and place the trout on the highest rack of the smoker, then place the lid on immediately. Turn the heat down to a medium flame and let the trout smoke for 8-10 minutes without removing the lid.

Remove the lid and check the fish is cooked by pressing gently at the flesh at the back of the head. If it is firm with a little give when pressed it is ready. Remove the trout and let cool.

When fully cooled, remove the skin from the trout then gently remove the flesh, discarding any bones as you go. Try to keep the pieces of fish as large as possible for presentation and then set aside.

To make the pepian, place the tomato, tomatillo and onion in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. At around 5 minutes or as each item softens, remove and place in the blender jug. The tomatillo will usually take 2 mins more than the tomato, the onion slightly longer still.

Warm a 25 cm fry pan to a medium heat and toast the pumpkin seeds, tossing or stirring frequently until golden and puffed up and add to the blender jug.

In the same pan add the sesame seed and toast. When nearly golden, add the allspice and pequin chili. Add to the blender jug, then add salt and puree for 2 minutes until very smooth. Check seasoning and set aside.

Line up the tostadas on a tray and top each piece with a smear of pepian paste. Add a small portion of smoked trout, then garnish with the julienned vegetables and serve immediately.

Note

To give the trout the most time for the smoke flavour to infuse without over-cooking the fish, ensure the trout is well chilled to begin with. Smoking chips are available from BBQ stores and speciality food shops. Apple or hickory chips are recommended. This pepian base works wonderfully for our canapé of smoked trout tostadas, but to serve in its more common form as a sauce you can simply add chicken stock and seasoning until the paste has a more sauce like consistency. Serve with chicken, prawns, pork or steamed vegetables.

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