Montana cuisine: trout on the grill
Recipe and photo by Will Casella
Smoked trout, Bing cherry salsa, and kiwi rum chili vinaigrette tostadas
Hot smoked trout
• 2 large fillet or 4 smaller fillets
• Salt and pepper
• Mirin to add color (not required)
• Smoking chips - available in stores or any hardwood will work. Hickory, apple, alder, etc.
With a doubled piece of tin foil, create a palm-sized cup and add a small handful of dry smoking chips. Leave the top of the cup uncovered.
Clean and prepare fish. Leave skin on if you plan to cook the fillet whole, or take skin off and cut fillet into one inch chunks if you’d like a smokier flavor (or if you massacred the filleting process). Drizzle with a touch of mirin to add a darker color; the sugars will also absorb some of the smoke. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Once the coals burn down or your gas grill heats up, add the foil smoking cup straight to the coals and replace the grill.
Place whole fillet skin side down, or put chunks on a flat piece of tin foil in the colder corner of the grill. Cover completely and cook for about 20 minutes or until the fish starts to flake. Remove from the grill and let stand at room temperature or refrigerate for later use.
Bing Cherry Salsa
• 1 lb. Bing cherries
• 1/4 large Walla Walla sweet onion
• whole lime, squeezed
• tiny pinch of ground chipotle or smoked paprika
• pinch of salt
Seed and quarter the cherries, dice the onion to an equal sized cube, squeeze in the lime, add the salt and spice if you like, mix and throw in the fridge.
Kiwi chili vinaigrette
• 2 ripe kiwis
• 1 red chili
• 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
• Squeeze of lime
• 1/2 shot of rum (light or dark)
• Pinch of salt
Peel and halve the kiwis and press through a fine sieve to get a glorious bright green ectoplasmic pulp. Add finely diced red chili to your level of heat preference (usually 1/4 of pepper, no seeds, will suffice), and the rest of the ingredients to taste.
• White corn tortillas, Goya wrappers or Round tortilla chips
• Vegetable oil
I prefer preparing my own tostada base, but if you are pressed for time store bought chips are fine. White corn tortillas provide more crunch and texture. Goya wrappers are a little easier, have a lighter texture, and provide an extra froufrou gourmet touch, if that’s your thing.
For the white corn tortillas, use a 2” round jar lid or glass to cut bite sized rounds out of the whole the tortillas or use a whole tortilla to serve the dish as an entrée.
Heat about a 1/2” of vegetable oil in a heavy cast iron pan on medium-high heat until it spatters with a drop of water. Place tortilla rounds or gyoza wrappers flat in oil and lightly brown both sides. Place on newspaper or brown paper bag to drain, and sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat process until an adequate number of tostadas are made (about three per person), and a couple are saved for the chef.
Everything is easy now. On the tostadas place a good helping of the cherry salsa, a nice chunk of fish (just flake off from fillet), and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with a bit of bias cut scallion, serve with a bottle of bubbles or a cold New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and enjoy!
Will Casella has been wandering the world in pursuit of the ultimate outdoor traveling/camping/fly fishing experience for the past 10 years. Since unpacking his bags in Bozeman, he started Phasmid Rentals, through which he shares his passion for Montana and self-drive adventures by providing outfitted rental vehicles and itinerary planning for like-minded souls.