We Learned How to Smoke Trout! Here’s the Recipe

The Fishing Trip that Keeps On Giving

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Photo from msfishingcharter.com

As I mentioned in my recent Trout Tacos post, the Grill-Meister recently went on a deep-sea fishing trip off the coast of Biloxi, Mississippi and brought home some bounty from the sea.

Today’s culinary adventure is smoking some of the trout he caught. The Grill-Meister is a wizard at smoking salmon (see Tom’s Smoked Salmon), but this is our first time to tackle trout.  After looking at some recipes online, I developed the brine recipe, marinated the fillets overnight, drained, dried and got them ready, and the Grill-Meister took over at the smoking point.

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The Grill Gazebo was the center of the action; that’s the smoker on the right

Smoked Trout

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. apple juice
  • 1 tbsp chili oil
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white win
  • 2 tbsp Zippy Southwest seasoning mix, or your favorite (Old Bay is good)
  • 3 lbs. boneless trout fillets
  • Wood chips for smoking (the Grill-Meister used mesquite)

Cooking Instructions

Combine all of the ingredients except the trout in a large glass baking dish, and stir to mix. Add the fillets, pushing them down into the brine to make sure all of the fish is covered, then put a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the brine and fish to make it almost airtight and keep the fish submerged. You may want to cover it with another layer of plastic wrap to seal it well.  Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove the fish from the brine and dry it on a layer of paper towels, then let it sit on a rack for about an hour to come to room temperature. Get your smoker and wood ready per the instructions from the manufacturer, and heat to 190°.  Smoke for about 2 hours, keeping the temperature at around 190°, or until done. Cover and chill until you are ready to use it.

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Just out of the smoker, these trout can be used in so many recipes

Three pounds of smoked trout is richness! How to serve it???

Smoked Trout, Plated, Al Fresco

Here’s one way: flaked, with dipping sauces fresh from our foray to the farmers market today.

Smoked Trout by the Pool

Our sauces are shown below; we love to support our local vendors.

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Our sauces for the trout came from our farmers market visit today

The spicy cocktail sauce for our smoked trout is Big Bayou Cocktail Sauce (with Jalapeño). Yum! The green sauce is from Pain Train, their special, once-a-year version with roasted Hatch chiles.

You can find these vendors at:

…and as always, any product recommendations are my personal opinion and should not be considered as advertisements; Glover Gardens is not a commercial endeavor.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

Big Food for Good Times: The U-Boat Sub

The Grill-Meister owned a German deli here in our little suburb of Houston for a while, years before we met.  The relics of that adventure are “I would never want to own a restaurant again” and this marvelous sandwich, the U-Boat.  It’s a German-ish variation of an Italian sub sandwich.

The U-Boat is party food.  Big bites for people with big appetites.  Perfect for big games or big parties or just a bunch of hungry teenagers.

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The U-Boat is magnificent in its simplicity

I convinced the Grill-Meister to revisit the U-Boat recently for a Super Bowl party we were attending, and documented his every move as he made it.  Here is the recipe, just for you.

The U-Boat Sub

Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course, 8-12 as an appetizer)

  • Large loaf of soft Italian or French bread (not a baguette), sliced in half longways
  • 7 oz. thinly sliced Black Forest ham
  • 5 oz. thinly sliced garlic (German) bologna
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced hard salami
  • 6-8 slices each of provolone, American and Swiss cheese
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded or sliced in ribbons
  • Your favorite Italian dressing, about 1/4 cup or enough to spread across the top of the French bread
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Large wooden picks (optional)

Cooking Instructions

Gather all ingredients and place the bread on a cutting board.  Starting with the ham, add a layer of meat, then alternate with a layer of cheese, overlapping the slices in each layer.  Then scatter a layer of red onions, followed by the tomatoes.  Add a liberal amount of freshly ground pepper, then the lettuce.  Sprinkle a generous amount of the Italian dressing on the second half of the bread, then position it atop the sandwich.  If you’re serving the U-Boat as an appetizer, use the picks to secure it in sections, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  If it is a main course, cut the U-Boat in quarters.

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Origins

Where did the name U-Boat come from?  The Original Italian U-Boat was a successful submarine sandwich restaurant in Chicago that swelled from a single location in 1975 to 32 stores in its heyday, only to file for bankruptcy and close during the recession in 1983.  Chicagoans remember it fondly, according to this article.  There isn’t a recipe for their U-Boat Sub online, although it may exist in someone’s attic.  The Grill-Meister’s U-Boat is similar to recipes for an Italian Sub, although it has a German spin with the Black Forest ham and garlic bologna.

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The Italian U-Boat restaurants closed in 1983

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Rosemary Wreath Appetizer Platter

I was inspired to make a rosemary wreath by another blogger (see yesterday’s post) and it worked!  It is a lovely way to dress up the old standby party dish of cheese, salami and olives.  I decorated the wreath with marinated piquant Peppadew peppers, but cherry or grape tomatoes would work just as well.

Here’s how to do it.  You’ll need to have access to a large a rosemary plant.

Snip about 30 sprigs of rosemary, one inch long or less.  Remove the side sprigs so that each length of rosemary is only one stem.  Lay the longer sprigs in a circle on a round platter and secure with florist’s wire.  Tuck the shorter ones in around the circle to even out the wreath.

Ingredients

  • Rosemary wreath (see above)
  • 9 marinated cherry peppers, cut in half sideways
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 8 oz. of your favorite white cheese, cut into cubes (I used Havarti dill)
  • 8 oz. sliced salami

Place a small container with toothpicks in the middle of the platter, then surround it with salami slices inside the wreath area.  Arrange the peppers in groups of three on the wreath to resemble holly berries, then add the cheese cubes to the wreath.  Scatter the Kalamata olives across the whole platter.

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Below is the original wreath from Home is Where the Boat is, shared by Sara from Last Night’s Feast.

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Did You Know…?

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Photo By Biozinc (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Sweet piquant peppers called Peppadew are originally from South Africa and were discovered in the early 1990s.  Peppadew is a trademarked name and the peppers can be a little hard to find.  Bon Appetite published a recipe with them a few years ago and got loads of letters from disgruntled readers looking to make their Pimento Mac & Cheese, so they followed up with the article Where to Buy the Elusive Peppadew.

Peppadew peppers resemble (but are not the same as) cherry peppers, which is another name for pimento peppers.  Pimentos resemble (but are not the same as) red bell peppers.

Any of these wonderful peppers can be used in this recipe.

 

Warm and Yummy First Course: Toasted Goat Cheese Salad

We love fresh goat cheese (chèvre) here at Glover Gardens.  Its tangy, creamy, tart goodness compliments just about anything you can think of to pair it with, but it is good without much doctoring, too. And we love goats, too.  They are so friendly!  We found a marvelous goat cheese farm in Buena Vista, CO, that we like to visit when we travel to our cabin, Little House in the Rockies.  The goats’ milk at Jumpin’ Good Goats makes  incredibly good cheeses ranging from very soft Creme de la Chèvre to goat feta to goat cheddar.  We sampled like there was no tomorrow ever gonna come, and brought back a full ice chest of goat cheese to Glover Gardens.  Good times.

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The picture  (below) of this goat cheese salad that I created after looking at lots of other recipes was one of the first that I uploaded when I started the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog last year (on the About page), but I never shared the recipe.  It’s time now that the leaves are beginning to fall – doesn’t warm goat cheese in a savory Panko crust on a bed of greens dressed with very good olive oil and balsamic vinegar sound good?  So good you want to eat it right now??

Baked Goat Cheese Salad
Baked Goat Cheese Salad

I’ll admit it – there are other good recipes out there with warm, Panko- or something-crusted goat cheese on a salad, but most of them are more complex than this one (dip the goat cheese in egg before coating, marinate the goat cheese, make a creamy dressing, etc.).  I like this recipe because it is simple and jusssst right.  The goat cheese with its golden brown and savory crust is the star of the show, and greens don’t need nothin’ but high-class olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The first time we made it, this salad was the first course in advance of a lovely, garlic-studded pork tenderloin (I need to post that recipe, too!), and we were a little full by the time we got to the pork.  So beware…and maybe, if you’re serving a robust main course, just serve one goat cheese round per plate.  That would stretch this recipe to serve 8.  The goat cheese salad is also a really, really good luncheon dish, paired with a soup.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 celery stalk, sliced slanted / crosswise in 1/4 inch slices to form pretty slivers
  • 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 1/4 slices red onion, quartered
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup Panko or toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. dried, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 oz. goat cheese log, sliced into 8 rounds (put the goat cheese back in the refrigerator after you slice it if you’re not going to crust it right away)
  • High-quality balsamic vinegar

Cooking Instructions

Preheat over to 375. In a small bowl, combine Panko, oregano, red pepper, garlic, pepper and salt and stir to mix. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and stir until evenly distributed. This mixture will form the crust for the goat cheese.  Spread 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a small rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the goat cheese rounds, then use your hands to coat each one on all sides with the Panko mixture and arrange on the baking sheet. Put in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown (don’t be shy about turning on the broiler for a moment if you need to).

While the goat cheese is baking, arrange greens on four salad plates, then add celery, tomatoes and onions. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the salads. Remove goat cheese from oven and place two on each salad, then add freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with oregano leaves or a small amount of dried oregano.


And if you’re as into goat cheese as we are, here’s another really good goat cheese recipe:  Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread .  More to come, I promise…

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Tom’s Smoked Salmon

This salmon makes a welcome appearance for parties and holiday meals at Glover Gardens.
This salmon makes a welcome appearance for parties and holiday meals at Glover Gardens.

The Grill-Meister is also a Smoke-Meister.  His wood-smoked salmon is truly awesome.  He started making it years ago with a recipe that came with his first electric smoker and then experimented with different variations.  The White Zinfandel in the brine is a must, he says, having been disappointed when he used other wines or liquids.  (I think he may have found the world’s only good use for White Zinfandel, but that’s another story.)  Tom’s Smoked Salmon is a holiday and party appetizer staple at Glover Gardens, year-round.

Even people who don’t like fish think Tom’s Smoked Salmon is awesome.  It’s just that good.

This recipe is based on the use of an electric smoker that uses wood chips.

Tom’s Wood-Smoked Salmon

Start with 1-2 skinless and boneless fillets this size
Start with 1-2 skinless and boneless fillets this size

1-2 long boneless and skinless salmon fillets; about 3 lbs.

Note:  have the fishmonger remove the skin for you; it’s much easier than doing it yourself and makes for a cleaner and more attractive finished product

Brine:

⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup salt
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup white zinfandel wine
1 cup water
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. Tabasco

Note: Tom’s spice mixture is amped up from the recipe he started with, and we like it that way.  Dial it back a bit if you want a milder flavor, or increase the amounts for an even zestier kick.

Cut salmon horizontally across the fillet into chunks that are about 2-3 inches wide. Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large bowl, then add the salmon, ensuring that all of the pieces are immersed in the brine by putting plastic wrap directly on top and then placing a plate on the wrap to push the salmon into the brine and keep it there.

Refrigerate the bowl of salmon in brine for eight or more hours or overnight.

Prepare the smoker and set it to 180-185°F, following the instructions to add wood chips (preferably hickory, alder or cherry) during the pre-heat.  Remove the salmon from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.  Lightly spray the wire racks with non-stick spray.  Arrange the salmon pieces on the racks, ensuring that the pieces on each rack are similar in size and thickness.  When the smoker is ready, place the thickest salmon pieces on the bottom rack and the thinnest ones on top.

Smoke for 2-3 hours, depending on the thickness of the salmon, until it is firm (but not stiff) to touch. Thinner pieces may be removed first, then you can reduce the temperature to ~150-160°F and smoke thicker pieces an additional 1-2 hours. Times and temps may vary depending on smoker, salmon thickness and individual preference.

Tip: If the chips stop producing smoke, crank the temp back to 180+, and then lower it again after the smoke re-starts. Keeping the temp as low as possible creates smokier salmon without drying it out.

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Tom’s Smoked Salmon is a marvelous appetizer in any season.

The Little Chief is a great first foray into wood-smoking.
The Little Chief is a great first foray into wood-smoking (their photo).
This is the current smoker the Glover Garden Grill-Meister uses to create smoky goodness.
This MasterBuilt is the current smoker the Glover Garden Grill-Meister uses to create smoky goodness (Amazon photo).

Tom started his wood-smoking journey with a Little Chief electric smoker.  It’s a little workhorse and is still going strong 20 years later at our cabin in the Rockies. The current smoker at Glover Gardens is a MasterBuilt version with a window and electronic controls (click here to see the exact model; he recommends it).  Another blogger shared some good information about electric smokers:  click here.

There probably won’t be any leftovers, but if there are, you could make our Smoked Salmon Spread (or dip) or try this recipe for a next-day salad.  Or you might want to make a double batch, so that you can use a pound of the salmon to create Bon Appetit’s Smoked Salmon 7-Layer Dip.

Crab Quesadillas

OK, who doesn’t love quesadillas? They’re like a tiny, warm little sandwich your mother made for you to eat after school. Yum. Portable, finger-food, dip-able, easy to make.

Did I say yum? Did I say easy?

I’ve got a dozen quesadilla approaches, maybe more.  Today I’m sharing with you the crab version. It’s easy, classy and a great appetizer for guests.  It can also be a main course for family dinner on Sunday night, served with something clean and fresh on the side like cucumber salad. The delicate taste of the crab is beautifully balanced by the warm crunch of the tortilla and the spice of the condiments.  And for all you seafood haters, just substitute chopped or shredded chicken for the crab.

Delicate and yet spicy, these quesadillas are finger-food heaven
Delicate and yet spicy, these quesadillas are finger-food heaven; serve them with condiments for dipping.

This recipe serves four as a main course or 8-10 as an appetizer.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups cooked lump crabmeat, or two 6 oz. cans, drained
3 green onions, chopped
1 can of green chiles, hot or mild, depending on your taste
2 cups of shredded Monterrey jack cheese, divided
1/3 cup of mayonnaise (I use light mayo)
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Zippy Southwest or other southwest spice mix
2 tbsp olive oil
12 flour tortillas

Cooking Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the crabmeat, green onions, green chiles, 1 cup of the shredded jack cheese, mayonnaise, cilantro and seasoning until completely mixed.

Put olive oil in a small bowl and arrange six tortillas on one or two baking sheets.  Using a pastry brush, spread olive oil on one side of the tortillas, then turn them over and top with the crab mixture, dividing it evenly between the six tortillas. Distribute the remaining 1 cup of shredded jack cheese evenly over the crab mixture, then top with another tortilla.  Spread olive oil on the top tortillas, then put the quesadillas in the oven and set the timer for 7 minutes.  Turn over the quesadillas after 7 minutes and check after an additional 3 minutes.  The tortillas should be lightly browned.

Cut into quarters and serve hot with sides of your choice:  sour cream, Pico de Gallo, guacamole and salsa.

Assemble the filling ingredients first
Assemble the filling ingredients first
This is what it looks like after you mix it
This is what it looks like after you mix it
Spread the filling evenly on the tortillas
Spread the filling evenly on the tortillas
After you top the quesadilla with the second tortillas, spread the tops with olive oil
After you top the quesadilla with the second tortillas, spread the tops with olive oil
The finished product is a delightful and appealing finger food
The finished product is a delightful and appealing finger food