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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.

Final preparation:

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.

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