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Bang. Splash. Yum!

Bang. Splash. Yum!

Who knew so many of our readers were into huntin', shootin' and fishin'? In response to your emails, here's a favourite recipe for Smoked Trout Pie.

BY ALEX COLBY. Those were the days. Before the GFC (aka the long, long recession) knocked the economic stuffing out of many hospitality events, you used to see some marvellous things. One we recall in particular was a Fish & Game kitchen at the 2009 Hospitality New Zealand show in Auckland, with masterclasses and workshops that ran for the full three days of the event.

What a line-up! Rainbow and Brown Trout. Pheasant. Quail. Mallard Duck. Paradise Shelduck. Black Swan. Canada Goose. (The last is a pest in New Zealand and should be eaten as much as possible.) At the class on Rainbow Trout, Alimentary gleaned a recipe for Smoked Trout Pie that has become a firm favourite.

The masterclass presenters were excellent too and the first thing we have to say about Tom Fox and Jimmy ("The Fish") Gerard – the latter well-known as a director of Harbourside Restaurant in Auckland – is that someone should snap them up for a TV cooking show. They were funny and expert – and "terrific" was the word that popped into our head when we tasted their recipe for Trout Goujons (fingers) with Cornflake Crumbing and Salsa Verde.

“Very groovy fish fingers”, was their description of the dish, and Alimentary would love to get its hands on the recipe except that it belongs firmly to the well-known Taupo fishing guide, Simon Dickie. In the same masterclass the duo made the above-mentioned Smoked Trout Pie in two variants: one with a puff pastry top, and a second with a top of overlapping slices of bread brushed with melted butter. Alimentary prefers the puff pastry option.

A firm reminder: You cannot buy trout commercially in New Zealand. You must either catch it yourself after buying a fishing licence or be given it by someone who has caught it with a fishing licence. And a tip: This recipe also works well with other types of smoked fish. Kahawai or blue cod would be good.


Smoked Trout Pie
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cold-smoked trout
4 hard-boiled eggs
150g cooked and chopped asparagus (or cooked sliced beans or peas)
Half a handful of chopped parsley
Salt
Pepper
A velouté* sauce for the pie, comprising:
- 100g butter
- 100g flour
- 900mls fish stock, or stock made from the bones of the trout
- 100mls cream

* A velouté is a béchamel (white) sauce made with stock instead of milk. It’s regarded as one the five "mother" sauces of classic French cuisine.

For the puff pastry top
1-2 sheets puff pastry (preferably made with butter)
1 egg (for the pastry egg wash)

OR

For the crispy butter-fried bread top
6-8 slices sliced white bread (preferably stale)
50g melted butter

To make the velouté
Bring the stock to simmer in a pan.

In another pan, melt the butter over a low heat and add the flour, stirring for 2 minutes, to make a roux. (A roux is a smooth mixture of equal quantities of butter and flour used as a thickener for sauces.)

Whisk the stock into the roux and simmer until thickened, then add cream.

Season. Strain. Allow to cool. Place buttered paper on top of the mixture to stop a skin forming.

To assemble the pie
Flake the smoked trout, discarding all the bones and skin, into an oven-to-table pie dish.

Cut the boiled eggs into quarters and add with the asparagus (or sliced beans or peas) to the trout. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooled velouté to the pie dish and lightly mix through the trout, eggs and asparagus.

Cover the pie dish with the puff pastry sheet, cut a small vent and apply an egg wash. If you prefer, you can cover the pie with overlapping slices of stale white bread (crusts removed) brushed with melted butter.

Cook in the oven at 180 C for approximately 20-30 minutes until cooked through and golden on top. Garnish liberally with chopped parsley when serving.


A final tip from Jimmy Gerard: if you are worried about your pie sagging in the middle, place a small ramekin upside down in the middle of the pie dish and place your pastry or bread over the top of it. www.alimentary.co.nz

ends

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