“Smoked Trout with Horseradish Creme Fraiche” is a sublimely light and flavorful Spring/Summer appetizer!
From time to time i have themed dinner parties. This particular dish was for my Spring Dinner Party, aptly named, “Spring Fling.”
I enjoy hosting dinner parties for several reasons. One, it gives me an excuse to set the table. Two, i get to meet new and interesting people, as the people who come to the dinner parties, i don’t usually know ahead of time. Three, it provides me the opportunity to make various small plates and practice my plating.
Plating food has been a work in progress, much like my photography. Practice, Practice Practice. However, i feel plating food has come more naturally to me than photography.
Sometimes, i am inspired by the ingredients themselves, the shape or color of the ingredient. Or, maybe it is a particular shape or color of a plate or bowl, i see that i would like to plate the food on. I often envision the plating of a dish right before i fall asleep. Sadly, i’m not skilled at drawing, so for me to try and execute my vision with pen and paper would be a lost cause!
For the “Smoked Trout with Horseradish Creme Fraiche” there are several components, but all are very simple and can be made ahead of time.
The first ingredient is the Creme Fraiche, which is basically soured cream containing 30–45% butterfat. It is very easy to make at home, or can be purchased from the supermarket (or substitute, Yogurt, Sour Cream or Mexican Crema). If you have the time, I suggest making it at home. Basically, it is heavy cream and buttermilk that is covered and put in a warm enviroment for two to three days. When i make Creme Fraiche, i treat it with care, i turn on my heating pad to high, put the covered bowl of heavy cream and buttermilk mixture on top of the heating pad and put it in an insulated shopping bag that zips. I create a nice warm environment for it (I do the same when i make yeasted breads). After about two days the mixture will sour and thicken, which is now Creme Fraiche. The Creme Fraiche can be stored in the fridge to thicken a little more. I suggest using it within a couple of days.
I use horseradish root for this dish, which can be found in the produce section of the supermarket. Peel the skin off with a peeler and shred the root with a microplane or a cheese grater. This brings out the flavor of the horseradish. I also “muddle” the grated horshradish, which can be done with a mortar and pestle or do what i do, i put it in a coffee cup, take my rolling pin and pound the horseradish until it is aromatic. You can buy the horseradish in a jar, but fresh is preferable (and cheaper). Only grate and add the horseradish to the Creme Fraiche before serving the dish. This is the most difficult and time consuming part of the whole dish.
As for plating, make it as simple or as complex as you like. There is no wrong or right way. Do what looks appealing to you and how you would like to present it. Regardless of how you plate it, it is sure to be delicious.
Do Ahead: Creme Fraiche can be made two days before
Substitutes: Quail Egg, can be omitted or use a teaspoon of crumbled hard boiled egg. Fresh English Peas, use if in season or omit. Pickled red onion (I make homemade), substitute with capers. Pea shoot micro greens, can be omitted if you cannot locate them. Horseradish in a jar can be substituted for the root.
- 4 pieces of smoked trout (or any type of smoked fish)
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 2 inch knob of horseradish
- 1 tablespoon english peas
- 1 hard boiled quail egg, cut in half or 2 teaspoons crumbled hard boiled egg
- Garnish with pea shoot micro greens or any type of green available, pickled red onion or capers
- To make the Creme Fraiche: combine heavy cream and buttermilk and store in warm place for two days until soured and thickened.
- Blanche the fresh english peas.
- Boil the quail egg or egg.
Assemble: Grate and "muddle" the horseradish and combine with 2 tablespoon of Creme Fraiche. Distribute the horshradish Creme Fraiche on two plates, blanched english peas and two pieces of smoked trout. Add pea shoot micro greens or any combination of greens. Place the quail egg or crumbled hard boiled egg on top and add the pickled red onion or capers.
Substitute: Yogurt, Sour Cream or Mexican Crema or use olive oil for a vegan option.
Substitute: Quail Egg, can be omitted or use a teaspoon of crumbled hard boiled egg.
Fresh English Peas, use if in season or omit.
Substitute: Pickled red onion (I make homemade), substitute with capers.
Substitute; Pea shoot micro greens, can be omitted if you cannot locate them.