Monday, April 22, 2013

Little Bones, Big Flavor

Cassie Dingwall, of Garden Girl fame, is a Renaissance woman. She can build chicken coops, make any plant on earth grow and thrive, bottle some of the best jam I've ever tasted, pour concrete, raise several varieties of poultry, rescue little dogs and abandoned baby pigeons and, best of all, catch and smoke trout.

When she was over last week to size up a concrete project she is doing for us, she brought with her a trout that she had smoked herself. It was in a kind of heavy duty shrink wrap, so I had a couple of days to decide how best to use it.  When she mentioned that it makes a killer salad and we had a nice warm day on tap, that seemed like the best possible use for it.

I carefully boned half of it and shredded it over a crisp salad of all kinds of stuff from the veggie drawer and plopped on dime-sized drops of a creamy lemon dressing. To say that this was one of the best salads of all time is a pathetic understatement. The mild but smoky fish is the perfect foil for fresh greens and crunchy vegetable matter.

The only drawback was the bones - the big ones come off easily when you tug gently on the spine. A beautifully spare lattice of bones comes neatly away to be discarded. What I didn't know is that trout are absolutely bristling with tiny, almost hairlike bones that end up stuck between your back teeth or triggering your gag reflex. They are very fine and small but when scientists or engineers need an incredibly strong, flexible substance, tell them to investigate trout bones for a clue.

Let me say right up front that it was worth it. Taste and texture both were amazing and I'd happily wrestle with smoked trout again. But next time, I'll know where and how to find and extract those nasty little bones. The big flavor is well worth it.


Blogger Greg said...

Your description almost made me feel like I had trout bones stuck in my teeth but it was only sesame seeds. ;) Lightly smoked salmon is good less boney sub.

Monday, April 22, 2013  
Blogger nancy namaste said...

I love smoked trout and used to be able to get it at a store on 24th Street. My grandfather smoked both salmon and trout so I know about going over the fish with a pair of tweezers, pulling out all "dem bones." I made salade Nicoise and substituted the smoked trout for the tuna. Magnifique!

Monday, April 22, 2013  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Is Cassie the farmer you buy eggs from? Fantastic!

Monday, April 22, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, yes, but that's not what the gift was. We loved the flavor of the trout, just need to get better at bone removal detail.

Nancy, oooh, Salade Ni├žoise would be killer with smoked trout.

Cookiecrumb, yes, same gal. She's a hoot.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013  

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