Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And Now for Something a Little Different

Smoked trout pate is not the most practical dish I've ever made, but once I indulged myself by purchasing the smoked trout offered by the fish seller at my local farm market, I had to come up with something to do with the one pound plus piece of smoked local fish. I served this as an hors d'oeuvre at a potluck dinner recently and one guest told me "I just can't stop eating this!" We liked it so much, I made it again the following weekend with the rest of the fish! I got the idea after reading a small blurb that a chef in NY makes her restaurant's trout pate with cottage cheese and creme fraiche, with no actual recipe given. I just experimented until I got a taste I liked.

Once you have the ingredients, this is as easy as can be to put together. This is also a dish that you can adapt to your taste and play around with the ingredients and quantities a little. The first variable is the fish. Taste a piece before you begin mixing. Some will be saltier than others. Mine was not salty at all, just smoky, so I added salt at the end. Likewise, choose the kind of cottage cheese you prefer, but a smaller curd would definitely be preferable. I use 2%, but you could try 1%, no sodium added, or, if you want something really rich, full fat. The creme fraiche transforms this from an everyday recipe in terms of health, to a once-in-a-while treat, but who doesn't need a treat every now and then.

Smoked Trout Pate

(serves a small dinner party as one of an assortment of hors d'oeuvres with cocktails)

Smoked trout fillet (about 1/2 pound)
2/3 cup cottage cheese
2 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove the skin from the fish and discard. Crumble or flake the fish into a bowl using two forks (one in each hand moving away from each other in the bowl) or your hands if you prefer. If the top of your fillet has a hard crust from the smoking process, you can pick out the larger, hard bits if you prefer. I like to leave in most, as they have the smoky flavor, but I try to make sure to break them down.

2. Add cottage cheese and creme fraiche and mix well with a spoon. If the mixture seems dry, add another dollop of cottage cheese. I like a smooth consistency so using the back of the spoon, I "smoothed out" some of the cottage cheese curds against the side of the bowl.

3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt (if your fish isn't particularly salty), a couple of grinds of pepper and 2 teaspoons of olive oil into the bowl and mix well.

4. Add chives, reserving a pinch for a garnish. Mix gently, and taste - add salt if need be.

5. Put into serving bowl and sprinkle the remaining chives on top. If not serving right away, refrigerate, but take it out about 1/2 hour before serving so it can come to room temperature which will make spreading easier. Serve with thin slices of baguette.


  1. Wendy, Great seeing you, Paul, Teddy and Maddy last night. You ate so healthy when I was eating those ribs! I'll have to try the trout, and start my New Year's Resolution early this year. Thanks for the inspirational recipes and message! Doug

  2. Thanks Doug! It was great to see you too. Good luck with everything.