Friday, July 13, 2012

Grilled and hot smoked trout 鱒の薫塩焼き

We always use pasteurized shell eggs, especially for dishes where the yolk is not fully cooked such as poached or fried eggs. (we love runny egg yolks). They also come in handy for sauces that use undercooked or raw egg yolks such as Hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise. For some reason, one of the near-by grocery stores where we regularly got pasteurize eggs stopped carrying them. We asked around and found another store from the same grocery chain, which is slightly farther away, apparently carried them. So we drove there in one afternoon—believe it or not just to get the eggs. Although both stores belong to the same chain, there appeared to be significant differences between them. This new one was much more upscale. Among other things, the most important difference, of course, was that they carried pasteurized shell eggs. In addition, the fish were displayed better and appeared to be of better quality.We passed the fish department on the way to the dairy case to get the eggs and my wife stopped dead in her tracks. She was “on point” for some particularly good looking trout--very fresh, with clear eyes. She wasn’t budging until two were bagged in plastic with ice.

When we lived in Los Angles, trout was about the only fresh whole fish we could get and we frequently ate them. But, for some reason, we have not eaten them that much trout after we moved back East; probably because other types of fish are available.

I decided to simply grill them. Obviously the fish monger did not expect that someone would  like to eat the skin as we do and these trout were not scaled. (When my wife pointed out the two trout she wanted he asked in surprise, “you want the whole fish”?) I guess that meant scales and all. So first,  I had to scale them. I salted inside and out and let them rest in the refrigerator for several hours before grilling (#1 below). Instead of placing the fish directly on the grill, I decide to do it Japanese style. I put two long metal skewers through the fish, from the tail, slightly fanning out through the head in a wavy fashion (#2 below) to simulate a fish swimming.

I used lump hard wood charcoal and direct heat. I also sprinkled soaked apple wood chips over the hot charcoals to grill and hot smoke at the same time. To raise the fish above the grill, I just used the metal baskets I use to put hot charcoals for indirect heat (#3 above). The distance between the charcoal bed and the fish was about 15 inches. Because of the oppressive heat, humidity and mosquitoes we were having in our area, I could not attend to the fish closely. Although I initially covered the tail fins with aluminum foil (#3), it came off or the entire tail came off and the end result was tail-less trout (#4). I grilled about 5-6 minutes per side until skin is nicely blistered and browned (#4).

I simply served the grilled trout with grated daikon or daikon-oroshi daikon 大根おろし, a wedge of lemon, and soy sauce. Of course, we had to have a bowl of freshly cooked rice. My wife, as usual, added butter and soy sauce to her rice.

We really enjoyed simply grilled tout since we have not had this for some time. The skin was the best part. My wife was very proud of her chopstick dexterity and the fact that the bones of her fish were cleaner than mine (above). The only disappointment was that she could not find cheek meat since the fish head was too small.

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