Did I really just suggest smoked trout grilled cheese? Yes I did! Now wait a moment before you leave this recipe and just hear me out. I too was hesitant and distrusting of this notion of fish on a grilled cheese sandwich. Fish and cheese has never been a pairing that comes to my mind, but this Smoked Trout and Pear Grilled Cheese Sandwich is amazing!
The use of mascarpone for the cheese in the sandwich is the perfect canvas to start your creation on. And what smoked fish is complete without some dill to add that bite of fresh?
The smoked trout is just the slightest bit sweet from the white wine and brown sugar glaze that is smoked to a satisfyingly slightly chewy but still firm state. The pears also enhance that subtle sweetness just a tad more. Add the kick of heat from the horseradish to balance out that sweet and you have one delicious sandwich in your hand.
Smoked Trout Grilled Cheese Recipe
Prep time 30 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Ingredients for Smoked Trout
- 10-12 large trout or fish of choice, can be left on bone but skin removed
- 1 cup salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 quarts water
- 1 can Old Bay Seafood seasoning
- 3 bay leaves
- 3-4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 bottle Cavit Pinot Grigio
- 2 pounds brown sugar
Smoked Trout and Pear Grilled Cheese Ingredients
- Two filets smoked trout
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 1 pear, thinly sliced
- fresh dill sprigs
- Prepared horseradish
- Mascarpone cheese
SMOKED TROUT GRILLED CHEESE PREPARATION
How to Smoke the Trout
- You can leave the fish on the bone but should remove the head and skin.
- Mix the fish brine by filling a gallon freezer bag or large glass bowl with the water, salt, sugars, Old Bay Seasoning, bay leaves, and rosemary. Mix until the salt and sugars have dissolved.
- Submerge the fish completely in the brine and refrigerate for ten to twelve hours.
- Once finished brining, rinse the brine off the fish with cold water.
- Mix the bottle of Cavit Pinot Grigio, or other white wine of your choice, with the two pounds of brown sugar in a large pot. Bring to a gentle boil and stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
- Marinate fish in the wine and sugar mixture for one hour.
- Once the fish has marinated, place the filets on a drying rack and let dry until a glossy pellicle develops. I use a small fan to make the coating dry extra solid. Drying time varies, but it takes about an hour.
- Set the smoker to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Fish should smoke somewhere between 165 and 225 degrees. If you go on the higher end, you tend to cook the fish instead of slow smoke, so I try to keep the temperatures lower. I also put aluminum foil on the grate below my rack to keep the fish from burning.
- For pellets, I used hickory, but there is a large variety of woods available. Fish tend to be paired with woods the produce a lighter smoke, including alder, maple, pecan, and apple.
- Smoke fish between 8 to 10 hours. The time depends on the thickness of your fish, so around hour six I start checking the filets with a meat thermometer. The fish is ready when it has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preparing the Smoked Trout Grilled Cheese
- Preheat a skillet or cast iron pan over medium high heat.
- Spread a thin layer of butter on one side of each slice of bread.
- Generously slather each slice of bread with the mascarpone bread.
- Start stacking the sandwich! To one side of bread for each sandwich add a single layer of thinly sliced pears.
- Tear apart the smoked fish in bite size chunks and add to the top of the sliced pears.
- Add a healthy number of fresh dill sprigs.
- Finally, spread a thin layer of horseradish on the leftover slice of bread and then top the sandwich.
- Grill in the skillet for three to four minutes per side, or until the bread is golden brown and slightly crunchy.
- Enjoy the smoked trout grilled cheese!
Article and photo courtesy of Harvesting Nature. Click here to subscribe to the quarterly Harvesting Nature magazine, And Click here to enjoy the latest episode of the wild fish and game podcast.