Hot-smoked trout with a toasted almond, garlic and parsley butter sauce
The hot-smoked salmon can be served hot or it can also be allowed to cool and used in everything from omelettes to pasta sauces. Once smoked, the fish will keep in the fridge for five to six days.
First, prepare the fish for smoking. Put the trout fillets, skin-side down, on a plate or tray, and sprinkle them with the salt. Allow them to sit somewhere cool for one hour. The salting process draws out excess moisture and inhibits the growth of bacteria, as well as adding flavour.
When the fillets have been sitting for one hour, pat them dry with kitchen paper, then leave them, uncovered, for another half an hour. This process will dry the surface of the fish fillets, which will allow them to soak up lots of good smoky flavour.
While the fish is drying, you can start making the toasted almond, garlic and parsley butter sauce. Slice each of the almonds into three or four shard-like pieces and place them in a frying pan or saute pan on a medium-to-high heat. Toss or stir the almonds every so often and cook them for about three to four minutes until they are golden brown and toasted. Add in the finely sliced garlic and the butter and cook for another few minutes until the garlic is soft and the butter is foaming. Squeeze in the lemon juice, tip in the chopped fresh parsley and season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside.
When the fish has dried for half an hour, it's time to smoke it. Sprinkle in enough wood shavings to almost cover the base of the smoking box, biscuit tin or the wok, whichever you are using, and place a rack sitting in the bottom. Lay the fish fillets, skin-side down, on the rack, in a single layer. Turn on the heat to high (this can be done on a gas or electric hob, or on a stove or Aga) and once the wood shavings are smoking, turn the heat to low and cover the smoking box, the biscuit tin or the wok, whichever you are using, with a tight-fitting lid or one made of tinfoil, and cook for four minutes.
After four minutes, take the smoking box, tin or wok off the heat and, still covered, allow it to sit for another four minutes. When it is ready, the fish should look cooked in the centre and have a rich, golden colour on top.
Reheat the toasted almond, garlic and parsley butter sauce, place the hot-smoked fish on warm plates, pour the sauce over the top, and serve.