This easy smoked trout appetizer was my favorite thing I learned to make at our cooking school in Heidelberg, Germany and perhaps the best thing I ate on the whole trip. Fresh trout filets brined and smoked on the grill, potatoes creamed with a ricer into a buttery softness and topped with a dollop of caper aioli…goodness good. This is sure to impress dinner guests. And some photos from the streets of Heidelberg from the vacation.
As you can imagine I was thrilled that I reproduced this at home and Bob had to agree it was a culinary treat. This second photo was taken at the school in Germany. The top photo I made right here in Colorado with Rocky Mountain Trout. I smoked the trout on our grill using packets of Applewood chips. The flavor of the trout is mild yet intoxicating, and who can resist creamy mashed potatoes? The caper aioli brings a rich exciting flavor to the dish.
In school we started with whole trout and learned to clean, filet and debone. Although I’m glad I learned the technique, I’m thankful that my local butcher did that job for me. All I had to do was use tweezers to pull out the pin bones.
This recipe and presentation is most certainly restaurant quality and actually fairly simple to make. First, I made my foil packets with the Applewood chips so I could smoke the trout on our gas grill. I then deboned the trout and mixed my ingredients for the brine. While the trout was taking it’s thirty minute brine bath, I started the grill to get the wood smoking. I also made my aoili at this time. When the grill was ready, I smoked the filets at the lowest heat for about forty minutes. During the smoking time I boiled my potatoes. Everything came together like clockwork.
You’ll find the recipe below but first let’s take a tour of the streets of Heidelberg.
I could live here. I loved this house with it’s white shutters and the vines. The street was so narrow I could only get a close up photo.
The beautiful Hotel Ritter.
This is a shot of the main street in Heidelberg. Closed to traffic, with restaurants, shops and markets, it’s a great shopping destination.
I liked this view because of the Roman aqueduct sitting on the hillside behind the city.
The narrow cobblestone streets are charming and picturesque.
Our search for a wine shop led us to this ominous entrance. I didn’t notice that sack when I took the photo. Wonder what’s in it???
Once down the steep stairs, was a lovely little shop selling the wines of Germany. Michele and Marion are pleased with our find.
Got a lot of extra corks? Why not make a chair.
We all took the opportunity to get our photos taken on the stairs.
I’ll leave you with a rainy photo view from my room at Hotel Villa Marstall.
This recipe was created using metric conversions. With a decimal and lots of fractions, ingredients have been rounded up.
- For the Brine
- 4 good sized trout filets
- 5 juniper berries
- 10 fennel seeds
- 4 1/4 cups water
- 1.4 ounce salt
- ounce .07 brown sugar
- 2 leaves bay
- 10 white peppercorn
- For smoking: Applewood wood chips
- For the Potatoes
- 2.2 pounds potatoes
- 7 ounce cream
- 7 ounce milk
- 7 ounce butter
- salt to taste
- dash of fresh nutmeg
- For the Caper Aioli
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp . Dijon mustard
- 7 ounces sunflower oil
- a squeeze of fresh lemon
- salt and white pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic fine chopped
- 1/4 ounce capers drained and chopped
- For the trout. Remove pin bones from filets. Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil with all ingredients. Add the remaining water and let it cool down completely before adding the trout. Brine for about 30 minutes. Wash the fillets in cold water and pat dry. Meanwhile make 3 foil pouches containing some wood chips. Seal and poke holes to the smoke can escape. Light grill to high, add the pouches of chips, seam side down, ventilated side up. When the pouches start smoking, turn the grill to the lowest heat. Turn off burners except for the burner that is directly under the smoking chips. Place trout on grill where no burners are lit, so cooking over indirect heat. Smoke filets for about 30 - 40 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill.
- For the potatoes. Boil the potatoes with skin on in a large pot. When they are ready, peel and press them through a potato ricer. Heat the cream and milk mixture and combine with the potatoes. Add the butter little by little while briskly stirring the potatoes. Season with salt and nutmeg.
- For the Caper Aioli
- In a food processor, mix the eggs and mustard. With the machine running, slowly add the oil. Pulse in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, capers and garlic.
- To build the dish, place a dollop of mashed potatoes on a plate. Remove the skin from the trout and lean strips of the meat against the potatoes. Top with a dollop of caper aoili and a sprig of fresh thyme.
Smoked Trout Appetizer with Mashed Potatoes and Caper Aioli…It’s what’s for before dinner.