Delicate Smoked Fish Dip with Charred Leeks and Capers

Making smoked fish dip-A Stack of Dishes

Looking for a smokey dip that doesn’t include bacon? I can’t say it’s an equal exchange, because really- what is?, but this smoked fish dip has great flavor in a light and delicate base, which makes it easy to indulge in.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of smoked fish, and not just salmon. I grew up by the sea, and many of my school chums had families that fished those local waters (many of the others farmed the fields we drove past every day). Though I grew up on Long Island, it was far enough eastward to not have those glorious Jewish delis with their smoked sable and whitefish. Instead there was a guy, who is the son of a guy, who had been smoking his over-catch in his garage for decades.


Mixing the Smoked Fish Dip- A Stack of Dishes

The fishes that are best for capturing and infusing the flavor have the most fat, which is why salmon is such a favorite. My preferred fish is Bluefish. It was a bit of a bastard fish as a kid. Fresh it is grey in color, super oily, and it has a pretty decent fishy smell when cooked. Quite the opposite from say something like flounder or sole, which is virginal white, delicate and light- the princesses in the fish world. Bluefish, when smoked, is just so moist and buttery in texture. It can easily be mashed onto a cracker, no little annoying bones like trout, and a fraction of the cost of salmon.

Slicing leeks to be charred- A Stack of Dishes

The natural oiliness in the fish is not only the healthiest of fats you can eat, but it also means that when incorporating this fish into your recipes it becomes the flavor carrier. Most dips and spreads at a gathering are super fat bombs. One or two tablespoons can knock your diet socks right off- and who has just a tablespoon or two? I love them, I really do, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be enjoyed, it’s just so super wonderful when you can enjoy something rich tasting and not have your liver end up in crisis. [Read more…]

Healthy Hash- Smoked Trout and Perfectly Poached Eggs

Personally I find breakfast the most awkward meal of the day. We all know a healthy start is the best thing we can do for ourselves, but man it is so much easier to grab a bagel or be tempted by the mounds of calorie bomb muffins or sweet rolls on every corner. I’ve never been a cold cereal fan really, and as much as I love sweets (and DO I!), I don’t prefer sweet for breakfast. Aside from making me feel edgy early in the day, I just don’t like the idea of being in the nutritional hole right off the bat.

But preparing breakfast takes time. A commodity most of us have less and less of. Who wants to make a mess of the kitchen, or add 20 minutes to the morning rush? But maybe that is the problem right there. Why the rush? Why do we drag ourselves through late night TV so that we feel we must squeeze out every minute of sleep, and then power push through our morning routine to get out the door? How civilized would it be to actually awake with grace, rouse with ease, and start the day with a sense of calm and well being? 20 minutes. Really, that’s all it takes.

For this breakfast I used leftover potatoes from dinner and pre-chopped my orange peppers and spinach the night before. Then it’s just a matter of boiling water, warming some oil in a pan and quick cooking off the smoked trout hash. Easy, fresh, and you’ve gotten a healthy serving of vegetables and quality protein to really start your day off well.

Those who know me know that I am a big fan of eggs. The poor egg has been so harshly maligned that it almost strikes terror in some folks. Yes- eggs have a large dose of cholesterol, and saturated fat, so you would want to balance that out with the rest of your day- but they are also power packed with vitamins and minerals that are hard to get in other places. The AND (previously ADA) now says that one egg a day is fine and I agree. I’m not suggesting that you go hog wild here, I just want to quell some concerns and allow you to feel good about eating eggs from time to time.

Poaching is a great way to prepare eggs, both in terms of nutrition but also when it comes to clean up. The trick to poaching is there is no big trick. Fear not. Simply simmer some water in an adequate sized pan and add a Tablespoon or two of white vinegar. The vinegar helps bind the proteins in the white so that it contains itself and makes a pretty egg. Then gently crack and add an egg into the water and just let it gently simmer for  4-6 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your yolks, and then scoop them out. That’s all there is to it.

Beautiful, easy, delicious and healthy- just the way I want you to start every day.

Smoked Trout “Hash” with Perfectly Poached Eggs
preparing the vegetables while making dinner the night before is a big help. 
serves 2
1.5 c diced and boiled potatoes- leftovers are perfect
.5 c diced orange peppers
1c chopped fresh spinach
3oz smoked trout- or smoked salmon- in small pieces
1 clove garlic
1T olive oil
4 large eggs
Set a 5 qt pan on the stove half filled with water and bring to a simmer. Add 2T of white vinegar.
Carefully crack eggs into the water and bring back to the simmer. Cook for 4-6 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove with a slotted spoon and blot on a tea towel.
Meanwhile heat a medium frying pan on medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until you get a crisp to the edge. Then add the peppers and cook for 1 minute, toss in the spinach and trout and cook another minute until spinach is wilted and trout is warmed through.
The trout is salty, so taste before adding any extra- or just salt the eggs. Top off with some freshly ground pepper.