I’m still amazed at just how much inspiration I took away from my day at Yeo Valley earlier in the month. One thing that I really wasn’t expecting was quite so much kitchen based inspiration. I know that they make yoghurts and other dairy products, but as I’ve said before them I hadn’t thought much about cooking with yoghurt before.
Their site in Blagdon is right next to Blagdon Lake and in their efforts to ensure that food miles were kept to an absolute minimum our lunch that day was trout from the lake. But, just bunging some trout in the oven is far too boring for those people at Yeo Valley, so instead chef Jamie showed us how to tea smoke our own trout at home – without requiring any special equipment. It was so simple that I’m going to share with you how to do this.
The first stage is to mix together long grain rice, demerara sugar and the contents of 10 tea bags (good old Yorkshire tea in this case, but your could easily substitute this for other blends if you wish).
Line a pan with silver foil and place your mixed ingredients in it. This will then go over a moderate heat and it’s worth putting this on to heat up before you put the trout on. You just want to get it up to where it starts smoking. (Depending on how well ventilated your kitchen is you may want to put a lid on at this point.)
Once the tea, rice and sugar mixture is starting to smoke it’s time to get the trout involved. Over the top of your pan lay a metal cooling rack and place your trout (skin side down) on this. Brush the trout with a little olive oil and also season with salt and pepper.
Place a suitably sized metal bowl over the fish. You want to ensure that it’s not touching the fish, but it wants to contain the smoke. I managed to find a suitable mixing bowl for only a couple of pounds in a local shop which worked a treat.
It then takes about 15-20 minutes for the trout to cook through. This was the stage in the cooking where Mr C and I had a bit of a disagreement over the cooking. Mr C insisted that the whole house now “stank” of tea smoke (he’s not a tea drinker) but yet I couldn’t smell it at all. I’ve no idea if this was because I was stood right next to the cooker and therefore closer to the extractor fan, whether I’m just “hardened” when it comes to tea, or whether pregnancy has just altered my senses so much that I simply didn’t notice!
I served the trout with new potatoes, some English asparagus and a yummy horseradish and yoghurt sauce. This sauce simply contained natural yoghurt (100g), 1 tablespoon of hot horseradish, the juice of half a lemon and a sprig of dill. It was delicious and in particular the dill was incredibly fresh and just the smell of it reminded me so much of meals in Scandinavia. Such an easy sauce to make and one that I’m sure we’ll be doing again to go with a variety of fish.
As for the trout itself, it had a lovely taste to it and I felt that I could really taste the tea. My only “complaint” is that the trout was quite cold, despite being cooked through. I had expected it to be hotter and I’m not sure if it just didn’t get hot whilst it was smoked, or whether it just went cool too quickly as I served it up.
(Once you’re finished just let the rice, sugar and tea mixture cool down and you can then lift out the foil and place it all in the bin.)
Compare my dish to the artistic way in which the same dish was served whilst we were at Yeo Valley. There it was served with fresh watercress alongside potatoes and a tomato salad. Delicious.
This method of smoking really was very simple and it is something that I just wouldn’t have considered doing at home before. I bought a new cooling tray and a metal mixing bowl, but they cost less than £4 in total and will definitely be useful again for many things – as well as trying out smoking again.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Yeo Valley for their open day with several other parent bloggers. Our travel costs for the day were met and a yummy lunch, cake and tea provided.