By Gail Gordon Oliver

I've been smoking foods for many years. I started out with an inexpensive Cameron's stovetop smoker, available online for about $50. The fish, turkey breast pastrami, and other hot-smoked foods that I made on it came out beautifully, but the relatively small capacity of the smoker got me craving bigger and better, and I've since upgraded my equipment.

Smoking is one of my favourite cooking methods for meats, poultry and fish. And since I've wanted to share some of my smoking recipes with our readers, I've worked on creating an inexpensive makeshift smoker that can be put together for as little as $15.

This smoked trout is equally delicious warm, at room temperature, or chilled. It's a wonderfully versatile dish that's great for brunch, lunch or dinner. Serve warm with Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac (recipe on page 9) and a tossed sprout salad. Serve cold accompanied by Celeriac Salad (recipe on page 29). Chilled smoked trout can also be transformed into tasty pan-fried trout cakes or smoked fish chowder.

What you'll need

1. A large stainless steel Asian-style steamer (with pan, steamer insert and lid) OR a large stainless steel domed roaster (with rack insert and lid) OR a large rectangular carbon steel roasting pan with rack insert (a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil can be used as a cover). These options were recently priced at $23.99, $24.99 (discounted from $39.99) and $13.99, respectively, at Canadian Tire.

2. An 8-inch square cake pan or brownie pan or drip pan (a disposable pan is fine).

3. About one cup of apple wood chips, or other type of wood of your choice.

Makes about 6 main-course servings

Fish

2 pounds (approx) rainbow, steelhead or lake trout filets, rinsed and patted dry

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sauce

1/4 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat is fine)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp drained capers, chopped

2 tbsp minced onion

1 tsp finely chopped fresh dill or tarragon leaves

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Make the fish: Centre the smaller pan inside the larger pan, with the open side facing up. Scatter the wood chips at one side of the larger pan. Center the rack on top of the smaller pan.

Place the fish on the rack, skin side down. (Avoid placing the fish directly over the wood chips.) In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Brush the mixture evenly over the top of the fish. Cover the pan tightly, wrapping the edge where the lid and pan meet with aluminum foil, and covering any vents in the lid. Place the pan over one burner. Turn the burner to medium. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to low. Cook until the fish is firm and cooked through, 70 to 90 minutes in total. (Alternately, cook the fish on the stove as directed for 40 minutes and then place the pan into a 275º F oven for an additional 30 to 50 minutes.

Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, capers, onion, dill, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

 

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